Many of my clients have reported the same, although there are the rare few that tell me that their children actually love it.
Here are some simple & easy solutions to help. It may not always be enjoyable BUT it has to get done. It is so much easier if we establish healthy habits as children rather than trying to change them as adults.
1) Brush their teeth in the bath tub! Most children love the bath, so you can multi task. If they are spitting, then use a cup and empty it in the bathroom sink.
2) Sing songs! As per this tip: SING! The Power of Song. Kids love it when we sing and it takes their attention away from something they do not like and helps them focus on something enjoyable. It will give them positive memories as they grow older in addition to making sure you brush their teeth for long enough.
3) When they are old enough, empower them to brush their own teeth first and then you brush them as well afterwards. Brush your teeth at the same time. (I love to do this as it not only teaches my children by example, it also helps prevent me from diving back into the chocolate after they are in bed!)
4) Use a timer as they get older so they know how long to brush their teeth for. Most dental professionals recommend brushing teeth for two to three minutes. The vast majority of us – adults and children only brush for 30 seconds to a minute.
5) Floss their teeth in their beds! One article I read from a pediatric dentist recommended that you replicate the dental chair and have your toddler recline while you brush and floss their teeth. I tried this for a time and my children would lay comfortably on the bathroom mat when it was their turn. After trying this for a few months, we opted for brushing teeth up right and using the bathroom mirror to help them learn better. For flossing, they do relax in their cute little beds with their loveys and it is so much EASIER to floss that way until they are old enough to do it themselves properly.
6) Sandwich the dental hygiene section in the MIDDLE of your routine if your children do not like it. This way they enjoy going to bed! They start and end their routine with something fun and enjoyable. Making bedtime as FUN as possible is KEY to creating healthy sleep habits. You can read more here: Make Bedtime Fun!
How about you and your children? What have you found helpful to creating healthy dental habits? Do you have any favourite products and/or tips that you would recommend to others?