What if you “don’t like” brushing your teeth?
For a lot of people, tooth brushing isn’t so fun. Maybe they don’t like the feeling of a plastic bristly thing in their mouth, maybe they don’t like the taste of toothpaste. Many people simply feel they don’t have time. Children often especially dislike tooth brushing. They hate the feeling, the strong minty flavors of toothpaste, and they would rather be doing something more fun.
A good number of people finally just lose the habit of tooth brushing, they forget a few times, and for whatever reason, it becomes ingrained—getting back into the habit, thus, is quite difficult.
Why exactly should you brush your teeth?
Most people know about cavities (the small holes that form in teeth). These holes are formed by plaque, which is a buildup of bacteria. The plaque eats away the tooth outer shell of the tooth, called the enamel. Those cavities get worse over time, as germs can live in the smaller ones and grow untouched.
After time, these cavities will get bigger and bigger, sometimes even destroying the whole tooth.
Lesser known, but even worse, is gingivitis. This disease happens as infectious pockets form in the gums. These pockets form because the gums get damaged over time and start to pull away from the teeth. Gingivitis pockets get big enough to collect decaying food, too. In turn, they become a Petri dish for bacteria. Unchecked, gingivitis leads to cavities, discolored teeth, swollen gums, awful breath, and more.
Gingivitis, plaque, and cavities are called tooth decay in a lump sum of dental disorders. They lead to rotten, destroyed teeth that will ache, fall out, or get pulled out by a dentist. And aching teeth also make it impossible to eat food that is too hot or cold or too sugary, limiting diet and leading to even more problems.
As though that weren’t enough, tooth decay can also lead to other problems in the body. It weakens your immune system and makes you more susceptible to new diseases, especially of the mouth and stomach.
How can I make brushing something I like to do?
For both kids and adults, brushing can be boring and uncomfortable.
Here are some ways to change that:
1. Make it a group effort
Brush your teeth with someone you love. Brush with your husband, your wife, or your kids. It’s nice to at least get one other person to do it with you. Parents are role models for their children, so if kids see their parents brushing, they will be much more likely to join in—especially if they’re invited. If nothing else, it can be a good reminder. You can remind your loved ones to brush their pearly whites by brushing your teeth and encouraging them to join you, and they can do the same for you.
2. Make it special
This one is more for kids. Let your child pick out a special toothbrush. There are all kinds of novelty toothbrushes out there, featuring dinosaurs, popular cartoon characters, you name it. If your kid gets to brush his or her teeth with something that’s exciting, why not encourage it?
This goes beyond the toothbrush, too. You can make the whole wash basin area fun for the kids. Get them a special stool, so they can see in the mirror. Get your child a colored cup that they can keep their toothbrush in. Not only will the child enjoy it more, but he or she will build a sense of ownership for these little details. This, in turn, will make having and using the toothbrush more important to your child.
You can also play a little song for the kids, too. Something to get them amped-up to brush their teeth.
And, as mentioned earlier, parents are role models—for younger kids even more so. If young kids come to associate brushing teeth to being like Mom and Dad, all the better.
Give yourself something to focus on. This is good for adults and kids. There are quite a few different ways to do this, too. Not only does focus improve the quality of a tooth-brushing, but it can help ensure the proper time is spent doing it.
4. Use a timer
You can use your watch or the stopwatch feature on your phone. Set it for three minutes and try to hit all the parts of your teeth in those minutes.
For children, you can buy a little toy hourglass. This increases the sense of ownership of their things while giving them something to focus on while brushing.
5. Play a song
You can play a song that’s about three minutes long. This gives you a good idea of how long you should be brushing your teeth for, keeps you focused, and music is uplifting on its own. The same goes for kids, often even more so. Kids love music, so find a fun song that they can listen to while brushing their teeth. This will go a long way to encouraging this good behavior.
Ask a professional
Dentists are not just mechanics “working on the mouth.” They’re also keep up on dental research, studies, and news to keep you informed. Almost every dentist will want you to brush, floss, and encourage your family to do the same. Oral hygiene is their thing.
In Fort Worth, Texas, there isn’t a better family dentist you could ask than Dr. H. Peter Ku. He’s been practicing in the area for over 20 years, and his clinic and he, himself, have received numerous awards, including Best Fort Worth Dentist in 2017 and 2018 and #1 rated dental clinic in Fort Worth. Why not get in contact and ask how you and your family can make brushing a little more fun?