5 Tips for Keeping Kid's Teeth Healthy

5 Tips for Keeping Kid’s Teeth Healthy

5 Tips for Keeping Kid's Teeth Healthy

5 Tips for Keeping Kid's Teeth Healthy

Did you know that Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S.? That's right! In fact, dental decay is 5 times more common than asthma. However, approximately 4 in 10 parents say that getting their child to regularly brush their teeth is difficult.

According to data released in October, 3 of 4 or 75% of parents report that their child sometimes or frequently forgets to brush his or her teeth. The mouth is the gateway to a person’s overall health, and an unhealthy mouth can be associated with obesity, diabetes and even heart disease.

In the U.S., dental disease causes kids to miss 51 million school hours and their parents to lose 25 million work hours annually. In addition, the CDC estimates nearly 1 in 4 children under the age of five already have cavities. Dental disease disproportionately affects children from low-income families and minority children, who have nearly double the number of cases of untreated dental decay as the general public.

Another startling fact is that more than one in four (28%) parents report that their child frequently forgets to brush their teeth. This happens in our house and it used to happen a lot more until we got teeth smart. Here are five tips for keeping your child's teeth healthy.

5 Tips for Keeping Kid's Teeth Healthy


1. Use a timer. We have a fun, loud timer that our kids use every time they brush their teeth.

2. Let kids pick out their own toothbrushes and toothpaste. I had way less “buy-in” when I used to buy all of the dental hygiene stuff without asking my kids what they wanted. It was amazing how much happier they were when I took them shopping for their own dental items.

3. In addition to supervising their brushing, we also do a “smell check.” Yeah this sounds crazy but we have done this for years. After my youngest brushes, she comes to me for a smell check. While smelling, I also look at her teeth to what kind of a job she has done. Sometimes she has to brush again but the “smell check” really cuts down on that.

4. Take pictures and show them. This might sound extreme but I will take pictures of my kids teeth on my phone, make the photo large and show it to them. When the photo is larger, they can see food and places that they might have missed while brushing.

5. Grab the Toothsavers Mobile Game App. See below.


Scholastic and the Advertising Council have partnered to create lesson plans and activities that teach oral health through science, math, and poetry to establish strong oral health habits at home.

The goal of the campaign is to encourage parents and caregivers to get their children to brush for two minutes, twice a day to prevent oral disease, and that this can be accomplished in a fun and educational way.

On the site, you will find an oral health poster, oral health tips in English and Spanish, and an oral health booklist.

5 Tips for Keeping Kid's Teeth Healthy


The Toothsavers Mobile Game App inspires kids to brush their teeth for two minutes, twice a day by enlisting them in rescuing friendly fairy tale characters from an evil, cavity-creating sorceress who cast a wicked teeth-rotting spell on the kingdom.

Featuring a fun and colorful design, Toothsavers includes three key features to help parents and their kids learn about the importance of oral health:

The game calls on kids to be heroes. In a timed, finger-swipe brushing game, they can save 13 characters* in a fairy tale kingdom from an evil, cavity-creating sorceress. The two-player version of the game allows for kids to “brush” the teeth of their friends and parents when the mobile device is held up to their mouths.

The app also offers a real-life toothbrushing companion for kids and parents to keep track of their brushing progress, as well as morning and nighttime reminders.

Cavities and dental infections can cause severe pain and can increase a child’s risk for dental issues and poor health throughout their lives. The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives recommends that you help your kids’ brush until they’re 8 because poor dental health can impact a child’s ability to learn, develop self-esteem and speak properly.


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102 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I let the kids pick out their own toothpaste. That way they are involved in the process and want to brush.

  2. My kids LOVE brushing their teeth. Thanks for these tips though, I think it’s so important to develop good habits EARLY!

  3. I can see how getting your kids to brush their teeth can be a challenge! You’ve got some great tips here. I was giggling reading about your “Smell Check.” 😉

  4. Looks like a cool app. I have 2 boys in braces! We always have to make sure we take care of our teeth.

  5. I can really use anything to get my kids to brush their teeth I don’t remember being like this as a kid

  6. The Tooth Savers App is a great Idea! It makes Brushing for Children super easy

  7. What great tips! I also do the smell test after brushing-my oldest used to try to get away with just wetting her toothbrush!

  8. It is so important to instill good oral hygiene habits in kids at an early age. I always set a timer when my kids were little and made them brush until it went off. They usually had fun with that!!

  9. Great partnership. Love that they are offering lessons.

  10. I’m all for anything that encourages kids to take care of their teeth. Then they don’t have to be scared of going to the dentist!

  11. I love the 5 tips for keeping kids’ teeth healthy. So simple, too. It’s actually pretty easy to get kids into good dental hygiene habits that will last a lifetime.

  12. My daughter used to forget to brush her teeth until she started getting cavities and needed fillings. She hated the fillings so she started brushing daily without fail 😉

  13. Jess Weaver

    My oldest will have fun with this app. I am very particular about dental hygiene. Oral problems can lead to many other health problems. Great tips!

  14. I have to make it fun and competition like – we use the Lickety Split App to get the kids moving faster.

  15. Haha we do a smell check too – but I love the taking a photo idea.

  16. My kids love brushing their teeth. Give them a Disney toothbrush and they are happy

  17. These are great tips. I’m going to check out that app – I bet my kids will get a kick out of it!

  18. Great tips. We are making sure to keep teeth healthy in our kids.

  19. This app sounds super helpful. I know my girls don’t brush nearly long enough.

  20. It us important to teach children good dental practices when they are young.

  21. ellen beck

    It is smart and good you are doing this while your kids are young to get good habits going. I remember years ago (and I know they still have it) there used to be a dye to show kids where they were missing when they brushed.
    I think letting kids get their own brishes is a huge thing for many years toothbrushes were pretty boring- no more. Now they have such cute brishes for boys and for girls.

  22. Maria C

    Thanks for sharing. Never thought about these things. This is cool & fun

  23. You really have to come up with some creative things to get your kids to brush their teeth. I really like the idea about using a timer. A friend of mine actually has this clever song that she plays for her kids everyday that times how long they have been brushing. It has actually worked surprisingly well to get them motivated.

  24. Timers are great for kids. I remember having a sand timer growing up. I would always get annoyed because of how long it took, but kept brushing anyway. Now that I am older I know that without it, I would not have brushed my teeth long enough.

  25. I really loved tip one, two, and three after the second picture of how to help to get your kids to brush their teeth. In tip one, setting a timer would be such a good idea to get the brushing in that they need while making it a fun game. After reading tip two, it reminded me of my early days when my mom let me choose my blue toothbrush with designs on it. I can recall wanting to brush my teeth more because it was my favorite color and I liked the way my toothbrush looked. I’ve never heard anything like tip three though, but I can see how a smell-check would be really valuable to double check your youngest kids with brushing their teeth properly. Thanks so much for such unique and helpful ideas to help motivate your kids to brush their teeth!

  26. I great way I got my kids to brush their teeth more, was I had them listen to a song they liked. The songs usually last for about 3 minutes, which is perfect in my opinion. After that, they are brushing their teeth. This helps them get into the habit of brushing for at least 3 minutes.

  27. My kids have been having a hard time with brushing recently, so these are all really helpful tips that might help them do better with brushing. I especially like the idea of using a timer, because then they know how long they need to brush for to keep their teeth healthy. It might also be a good idea for me to check when they brush, just to be sure that they brush everywhere and get everything that they need to. If I were to do all these things, I think they would do much better against fighting decay and cavities!

  28. I loved the new idea of having an app help kids keep dental health. I had never heard of this app, but it’s cool that some developed it to create a game out of brushing your teeth and making sure they are making their hygiene a priority. Teaching kids while they’re young to keep their hygiene and health is a priority, because those habits should start young so that they continue throughout their lives.

  29. Elisabeth

    I love the idea of taking pictures to show them!

  30. Getting your kids to brush their teeth is a battle, but getting them to do it for at least two minutes can seem harder than storming a country. Your tip about using a fun, loud timer to count down is a great way to get them excited about brushing their teeth. Them being able to watch the timer count down helps them to stay interested and actually enjoy brushing their teeth. From one mom to another, thank you so much for these tips about keeping your children’s teeth clean.

  31. I buy my kids tooth paste and brushes in fun flavors and designs to encourage them.

  32. A mobile app that teaches kids to brush their teeth is a great idea. This would help cover the key points of keeping teeth clean. This could be helpful for my niece, she is learning this skill right now. I will have to let my sister-in-law know about this app.

  33. My little brother just got back from the dentist yesterday, and he found out that he has a few cavities. He has been brushing every morning and every night, so that can not be the problem. Maybe what the problem is, is that he is not brushing long enough. I will make sure I talk to my mom about setting a timer for him, to make sure that he brushed for right amount of time. One question though, how long should they be brushing for?

  34. Correy Smith

    Stacie, it looks like you know your stuff when it comes to helping little kids to brush their teeth. This is something that is quite difficult for me to keep up since my kids are scared of going to the dentist. I’m trying to find creative ways into helping them see the dentist as someone who wants to help them out in keeping their teeth. http://cowichanvalleydental.ca/services/our-technology/

  35. My kids have never been very good about brushing and taking care of their teeth. I think it would be really good for us to start trying some of your tips at home to help us do better. One good suggestion that you give is having a timer. I think this would make it more fun for the kids as they brush their teeth. One of the biggest problems we have is that they don’t brush for long enough, so this will probably help them to brush better every day. By doing this, I think it will keep their teeth a lot healthier so that we don’t have as many problems with cavities at the dentist!

  36. I really like your third suggestion to perform a smell check after your kids brush their teeth. As crazy as it sounds to do this, I can see how this is a perfect way to teach your kids how to brush their teeth correctly, and you as a parent can assess their teeth’s health. I like that you said the smell check has cut down on your kids having to go and re-do their teeth brushing. If they are being held accountable for their quality in brushing, they will definitely be more prone to do a better job. Great idea, thanks for the tip!

  37. I’m a dentist, so I just tell them how terrible their mouths will be, and how stinky their breath will be if they don’t do a good job. The way I tell, it they’ll look like zombies if they don’t brush. LOL.

  38. Pam

    We used a sticker chart to get our kids to brush their teeth. it worked pretty well.

  39. We make brushing teeth a game. Each kid has either an egg timer or a toothbrush that lights up – it’s up to mom or dad to create a 2 minute story to entertain the kids while they brush – going faster when they brush faster and slower when they brush slow. Sometimes I can’t think of stories so I sing them Beatles songs!

  40. Catherine S

    These are really great tips. My son always seemed to enjoy picking out his own toothbrush and toothpaste.

  41. I do like the idea of using fun apps to get the kids more interested in brushing. It could be fun to let the pick their toothpastes etc. too.

  42. The Toothsavers Mobile Game App looks like a lot of fun. These are great tips for helping kids use better dental care. The “Smell Test” is clever; I know it encourages the kids to do a better job.

  43. Dental care is really important. Kids can actually start around age 1 to take care of their teeth.

  44. We make a big deal about oral hygiene around our house and often make our children go back and brush a second time. I am all for engaging them with a fun app if that’s what it takes to get the job done.

  45. Hahah glad I’m not the only one that does a smell test! I love the picture idea too, great tips for kids

  46. I had no idea that tooth decay was so prevalent in childhood. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips. Kids should never lose their teeth due to lack of knowledge.

  47. Val

    These are great tips. I never thought to take a picture and show them but that is a really good idea.

  48. I love this program thru Schlolastic!! I need to get a timer for my kiddos.

  49. Teeth health is really important with kids. Anything to help them stay on track with that is welcomed

  50. We try hard to make brushing time fun. We play an elmo video that we sing and dance along to.

  51. We’ve been getting rave reviews from our son’s dentist which is a relief. But I love the idea of an app and characters to give him a healthy reminder.

  52. I have two good brushers and one I have to nag. That app sounds like it would be a good tool for us.

  53. I don’t think people realize how important this is to their healthy, especially with children. Thanks for the tips

  54. I find convincing my kids to brush their teeth quite a hassle every morning and night. The tip you shared above about allowing them to pick out their own tooth brush and tooth paste is a genius way to bet them more interested in brushing their teeth. Hopefully, if they are excited about their tooth brush, they will be excited about using it. Thank you for sharing such a fun and simple way to make keeping my children’s teeth clean much easier than it would be otherwise.

  55. Ann Bacciaglia

    These are great tips. I will have to share this with my friends with kids. the app looks like it would be fun to try.

  56. Rosey

    We’re all ready for our 6-month dental check-ups. The youngest did his, I’m next. 🙂 It’s important to teach them good dental health care.

  57. Thanks for these awesome tips! With 4 kids, I can’t afford for any of them to be unhealthy!

  58. Great tips. I like the “take pictures” tip. I hadn’t thought of that one. Downloading the app now.

  59. Megan Chamberlin

    My aunt is in dental hygiene and she got my son a flashing toothbrush – he has to brush until the light stops flashing, which helps him brush the correct way.

  60. Tracey

    These are really good tips to get kids wanting to brush! Teeth hygiene is so important.

  61. Stacie, my kids are often reluctant to brush their teeth or let me brush them. The tip about letting them pick out their brushes and toothpaste seems like a great idea! I will have to try that! I wonder if our dentist has any good brands of kids toothpaste to recommend. I will have to ask.

  62. john hutchens

    great tip for getting kids to brush their teeth. The timer is a great idea.

  63. Great blog! The use of the timer while brushing is a great idea. I also like to recommend parents have their children checked for vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Sometimes these deficiencies can make children more prone to cavities.

  64. I really appreciate you talking about this! For some reason, I always have the hardest time making sure my kid’s teeth stay clean. I never know if they are brushing their teeth for the right amount of time. So thanks a ton for your first time on using a timer. I definitely think that when I start doing this, that it is going to help me out a ton.

  65. Dandi D

    These are some great tips–it’s so hard to get my son to brush well.

  66. Lauren Adams

    I’ve actually never heard of a “smell check” before. However, I think I may implement that into my little boy’s dental hygiene routine. After all, it makes sense. You want to make sure that the child knows how to brush their teeth on their own. At the same time, you want to make sure that they are doing a good job at it.

  67. I like the idea you had about using a timer. I remember when I was a kid I had no idea exactly how long to brush my teeth. If there was a timer though, it would definitely make everything easier. Hopefully more people will see these tips and try them out. It could definitely make a pretty big difference in the long run to say the least.

  68. I had no idea that tooth decay was more common than asthma! My daughter just cut her first tooth over the weekend, so we are looking at what we need to do to start dental care for her. I will have to go get her a toothbrush right away! Thanks for this info!

  69. I love the idea of letting your kids pick out their on toothbrush and toothpaste. That is definitely something that can help get them excited about brushing their teeth. I also think that it is a good idea to have a smell check. That way you can make sure that they brushed properly.

  70. Wow, I hadn’t ever thought about getting them involved! I have a really hard time getting my kids to put value into mental health. I’ll have to try taking them to get their own dental hygiene products and making them feel included. That is so ingenious, thank you for writing!

  71. It’s about time for my son to start brushing those little baby teeth. It’s more of a game to him than anything else, which makes it hard for me to feel like it’s a consistent routine. Thank you for these ideas!

  72. Stacie, it sounds like a pretty good idea to take a picture of your child’s teeth after brushing just to show them what they missed. For me, it sure would be good to be doing on my kids since they have a habit of not brushing their teeth. Ever since my dentist at the family dentistry office did a teeth whitening on my two daughter he suggested that I keep track of their teeth.

  73. Sahithya

    A smiling child is one of the most innocent things you can see in this often cruel world. Parents live for these smiles. keeping teeth healthy is very important. Rinse your child’s mouth with water to dislodge any tiny tooth particle that may be still sticking around. It will help you avoid any further complication. Here is a good article for parents to teach kids to brush in a right way: http://www.momjunction.com/articles/simple-tips-teach-kids-brush-right-way_0075057/

  74. These are really awesome tips for keeping children’s teeth healthy. I think it is important to monitor their brushing sometimes, as well as take them for regular dental check ups. A dentist will definitely know more about the state of your child’s dental health. Thank you for sharing!

  75. I definitely think it’s interesting to consider a “smell check” like you said, but it definitely would allow you to see areas kids have missed, and it would also cut down on the amount of bad breath they’re dealing with. I’ve heard that a lot of things you do as a parent is kind of disgusting, but I’ve never really thought about it this detailed. Hopefully more people will at least consider these things to help out their kids as much as possible.

  76. Love the idea of doing a smell check! It’s fun and kind of silly (and you can make it even sillier), but that’s a fantastic little ritual to make sure that the kids have brushed their teeth. I’ll definitely have to give it a go in our house. Thanks for the suggestion!

  77. Stacie, a timer sounds like a pretty good tip for me to maybe get for my kids. Ever since the periodontist inform my wife and I that our oldest daughter got her first cavity it sure got us worried. Mainly because of how bad the cavity was that the periodontist suggested we help her out in getting her to a routine of brushing and flossing her teeth daily.

  78. Tip #4 where you show them a picture of your teeth sounds really effective! Got any tips for a forgetful parent of a toddler? We are the worst at remembering to have our little guy brush his teeth. I often don’t remember until after I’m laying him in his crib at bedtime… if I remember at all.

  79. Aside from brushing and flossing, a healthful diet protects teeth from decay and keeps the gums healthy. As a mother, I always encourage my children to take care if their teeth. I help them brush their teeth until they’re mature enough to do a thorough job by themselves.

  80. My kids always seem to want to skimp the amount of time they brush their teeth, and even getting them to want to brush them is like herding cats. Your idea to make shopping for dental supplies fun is genius, though! Next time they are in need of toothpaste, or toothbrushes, I will make sure to let them pick our their own supplies. I’m excited to see how big of a difference it makes for them. Thanks for sharing!

  81. These are some really great tips for any parent trying to help their kids develop good oral hygiene habits. I really like the idea of letting kids pick out their own toothbrush and things, to make them feel more involved in the entire process. I’ll have to give that a try with my children, and hopefully it will have the same effect; them happier and healthier. Thanks os much for writing!

  82. I have a kids who always very naughty and always forget to teeth. So i have to aware of my child whether he brush or not. I have got many suggestion of my previous dentist who confirmed me to keep mouth wash. But your blog also help me to get lots of knowledge.

  83. Very useful tips, thank you for sharing themm. I also remember I worked at a child development center and one day we started doing applique of ice cream and one 3 yo girl asked me: What is an ice cream? I then asked her grandma what ws going on and she told me that they didn’t ever let her eat ice cream to keep her teeth healthy )))

  84. I like your tip to let your kids choose their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Whether you get a new toothbrush at the dentist or buy one at the store, kids will be much more likely to enjoy brushing their teeth if they chose the brush they’re using. If they don’t like the color or design of the toothbrush, they may not want to use it, so let them be a part of the choosing process. Thanks for all the great dental health tips!

  85. Thanks for the post. I like the idea to take a picture of their mouth. I think it could be fun for the kids. Like you said, they can see the food and see they didn’t get it all. You could do a before and after and let them see the difference.

  86. I like your idea to let your kids pick out their own toothbrushes and toothpaste. I know it seems like something small, but I’ve tried it and it works. My kids feel like brushing their teeth is a little more personal with their own toothbrushes. Thanks for the other tips as well!

  87. Going to the family dentist often is a good way to keep up on your oral hygiene. I like that dentists are able to resolve cavity pain. I had no idea that poor dental health can actually affect a child’s ability to learn.

  88. My son is seven-years-old and has a really hard time taking care of his own dental hygiene. If he brushes his teeth, it is only for a few seconds. That is why I really like your idea of getting a timer. Maybe I will get a special one that is fun for kids in some way (such as looking like a superhero or making funny noises) and set it for him when he brushes his teeth.

  89. This is so helpful when trying to maintain good health habits for kids! Thank you so much for the clear and concise information. It was all easy to understand and all the information is incredibly useful!

  90. great tips for our children become co healthy teeth, they like to brush their own teeth and their tips are incredible for small never forget to take good care of the oral health 🙂 thanks!

  91. Nice share. Keeping kids teeth healthy is challenging. Everyday inspiring them to brush their teeth properly is a tough work from my end. So, I’m delighted to find these 5 tips for kids teeth healthy. Looking forward to follow these tips.

  92. It is very important for all of us to have a control of the teeth, this will make our smile never become ugly in the future .. Very nice article, congratulations I loved it.

  93. It is very important to start educating as a child

  94. I always teach my kids to brush their teeth three times a day to maintain their teeth strong.

  95. Great tips, I called my son to read along with me, was just teaching him how important it is to keep your teeth healthy. Thanks.

  96. I loved the tips, I will share with my son

  97. I”ll try to keep it in mind when cleaning my son’s mouth.

  98. That’s no easy but we need to do this for them.

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  100. Great content and tips that every parents can follow through it.

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