How to Get Kids to Brush their Teeth

How to Get Kids to Brush their Teeth

As a mother raising five kids I have struggled with ways to get them to brush their teeth.
Three of my kids are now adults with two in their tweens and early teens. I also have a four-year grandson and one-year-old granddaughter, whom I babysit often (so much for thinking I was past dealing with toddlers). So, as you can gather, yes, I might have the experience, but it’s been a while since I had to teach my little ones to brush their teeth. Would you believe that it’s not just little ones you have to make sure their teeth are being looked after with regular brushing? Yes, I’m ashamed to say that I have problems with my youngest two children. My daughter will be 12 next month and she isn’t so bad at her dental hygiene. But there are times when I have to remind her (remind is a nice way of putting it) to brush her teeth. My 14-year old son, on the other hand, is just gross – yep I said it. The number of times I nagged, yelled and nagged him about his hygiene is not funny. He loves nothing more than to sleep in, until the very last minute before it’s time to go to school, which of course gives him no time to brush properly if at all. I didn’t have this problem with my first three kids. They have always had great hygiene.

Lazy Parenting

I know what you must be thinking – it’s our fault as parents. And you probably wouldn’t be completely wrong. But I guess after not having to worry about my oldest kids looking after their own hygiene, I suppose I got lazy. At 50 and having five children with big gaps on either side, I have been doing this a very long time. And sometimes I just expect my youngest kids to be responsible for their own hygiene – you know being 12 and 14. So where did I go wrong? How do I encourage my youngest children to brush their teeth morning and night without having to nag all the time? Teenagers just LOVE nagging Mums. So much so that they tend to dig their heels in and do the opposite. My kids do go to the dentist regularly, so I do somethings right (sometimes).

“So where did I go wrong?”

Problems Caused by Lack of Brushing

I guess I wasn’t quite on the ball with my youngest children as I was with my oldest, even when they were little. (Again, sometimes I’m just over it, ha). But I can tell you from experience how important it is to teach your children to brush their teeth. Both kids had to have dental treatment done at young ages to the point of being knocked out. Riley had three back baby teeth removed as one decay went across three teeth. And my little girl, who was about 5 or 6 had to have quite a lot of work done. This was within 6 months of her last visit to the dentist (her baby teeth were susceptible to decay). Although, this ended having a bright side as it happened at just the right time. She had lost her two top baby teeth, so the timing was perfect. The Specialist Children’s Dentist told us that she had the front part of her gum (I think it’s called the labial, but don’t quote me) needed to be cut away or her new teeth would grow with a big gap between them. This would mean she would need braces later. So, with fixing her cavities, capping a few of her back-baby teeth and treating the gum problem, oh and don’t forget the cost of surgery, hospital and the specialist we were out of pocket $3000. I regret that she had to go through that at such a young age. But her teeth are as straight as they come now. Yay, no braces. It still doesn’t take away from the fact that she needed the other work done. So, my point being, keep getting your kids to brush their teeth.

Ways to get kids to brush their teeth

After telling you my story with my youngest children, you know how important it is to find ways to get your little ones to brush their teeth every day, morning and night. Once they get in the habit at a young age, it will be something they won’t think twice about as they get older. They won’t turn into lazy teenagers who couldn’t be bothered to look after their teeth (sorry to tell you this but they will still be lazy – especially when you want them to clean their rooms or do their chores). You don’t want to be that nagging Mum or Dad, well not about their teeth brushing anyway. Especially, when you are having a conversation with them after school and you just want to cringe when you can see they haven’t brushed their teeth – again.

Tricks to making teeth brushing fun

This one I had to do some research on as it’s been so long since I’ve had to use any tricks for little kids. I did talk to my daughter and she did remind me of some of the things I used to do as she now does the same with her toddlers.

  1. Make sure you only use baby toothbrushes and toothpaste
  2. Let them know that they are a big girl/boy for brushing their own teeth with their very own toothpaste.
  3. Put some paste on the brush and just give it to them, they will put it in their mouth (this might only work with kids from when first cut their teeth to about two)
  4. Get them to mimic you, brush your teeth while they are brushing theirs.
  5. Reward them afterwards, of course not with sweets.

Here are some ideas I found on the Colgate site.

  • Give your child a toothbrush to play with. Let him brush his stuffed animal or doll’s teeth while you brush his.
  • Let your child brush your teeth. (Don’t forget to do it again yourself later.)
  • Cheer with each tooth brushed: “Tooth number eight is clean and shiny!” Then give an enthusiastic “Woohoo!”
  • Download a fun app. “Brush DJ” plays two minutes of music (the recommended time for brushing) while the brusher races against the clock to get a clean mouth before time is up. “Star Teeth” allows kids to pick a character who encourages them while they brush.

I love the app idea. They didn’t have these 10 years ago.

Have Regular Dental Check-ups

  I hope you learn from my mistakes – don’t get lazy, no matter how many kids you have (even if you are ancient like me). Keep teaching your babies to brush their teeth so it becomes a natural everyday thing. Find fun ways to get kids to brush their teeth when they are little. And most important, take your kids to the dentist regularly, every six months.

Save Money on your Dental Treatment


Do you want to save money on your dental treatment?

Would you go overseas to go to the dentist to save money?

I hate going to the dentist! It is literally one of my phobias, well that and green-ants. Why green-ants you ask? Well, their bite stings for hours, a bit like getting a tooth pulled (well, in my opinion, anyway). I am not fond of the numbing needles at the dentist. I’ve been told I have a low pain threshold. Who would have guessed!

And why did I have to get my tooth pulled? Because I put off going to the dentist.

The cost

But the biggest reason I don’t like going to the dentist. The COST! The cost hurts the most.

I have private medical insurance, in fact, I couldn’t live without it. But the out-of-pocket expenses for getting dental treatment, especially complex dental treatment is way beyond my affordability.

Don’t get me wrong, I send my kids to the dentist regularly for check-ups. My middle son had to have braces a few years ago, and that was thousands of dollars out of pocket. But there was an affordable payment plan, so we managed.

I, on the other hand, haven’t been for years, whoops, I’m bad. I even know my teeth need work on them, which stops me from going even more. The cost will be higher. And I know the longer I wait the more work I will need and the more it will cost.

I can’t afford the extra expense, so I keep putting it off.

I also know that when I finally go to the dentist all my toothaches (which are more painful) will go away.

What about Dental tourism?

While scanning my Facebook feeds, I came across a post from a friend. She was asking if anyone had gone overseas to get their teeth worked on. So, I decided to find out why she was interested. I’m was thinking, why would you want to go overseas when there are so many great dentists in Australia. I called her and told I was doing some research.

I asked her the main question – WHY? “Why are you thinking of going overseas to get your teeth fixed” (she has always had problems with her teeth due to grinding in her sleep, shoos, don’t tell her I told you)? Her immediate answer was – it’s cheaper!

Then I asked her if there was a way to find affordable dental treatment in Australia, would you prefer to get it done here? Her answer – again immediate – Yes!  

“Why are you thinking of going overseas to get your teeth fixed”

I Did the Research

Yes, it might be cheaper to go overseas to get your teeth fixed. Especially if you have a lot of work that needs doing. You might be able to save money on dental treatment. And let’s not forget about the holiday while you are over there (not my idea of a great holiday destination though).

In some cases, the treatment and professionals are of high quality. There are even Medical Tourism Agencies who can guide you in the right direction.

Many people looking to save money on their dental bills find the websites of overseas providers. Some of them are very professionally made. They are easy to navigate, easy to look at, easy to find all the answers to common questions.

These websites also make their services look great. But all this does not mean that they will receive high-quality, safe dental treatment in a well-regulated, modern facility.

So, is it worth trying to save those extra dollars? I can think of many cons NOT to go overseas for treatment. I also did the research.

  1. The biggest personal reason for me – are you kidding?
  2. The standard of facilities
  3. Dental professionals and staff
  4. The health risks
  5. Post-procedure follow-up and/or complications.
  6. Legalities of malpractice
  7. Health Insurance
  8. Having to get a lot of work done in a short time
  9. Health professional opinions
  10. Are you really saving money in the long run?

My Personal Reason

I’m not about to go to an overseas dentist – don’t forget the dentist is one of my phobias. Knowing my luck, the dentist I ended up seeing wouldn’t be one of those high-quality professionals I mentioned before. I would much prefer to suck it up and go to a dentist – any dentist in Australia.

The Standard of Facilities

Australian dentists and other professionals work in facilities that are of very high standard where there are strict regulations and guidelines. Some other countries have fewer or no regulations regarding the facilities and infrastructure. There is also a risk with their water purity and sanitation. Which of course, if it is of a low standard can increase the risk of infections and other diseases.

Dental Professionals and Staff

Australia has a very high quality of training for all medical professions. Can you be certain about the quality of training of the dentists and their staff in other countries? As I said previously, some are of high-quality, but are you willing to take yet another risk?

The Health Risks

The health risks alone should be a turn-off to get your teeth done overseas. There are few or no regulations regarding the competency of dental professionals. And I as I mentioned above, the standard of work facilities can cause infections and diseases. You can keep that to yourself, thank you and no thanks!

Other Reasons for Health Risks

One of the biggest reasons why it looks like you are saving money if you go overseas, is they charge a fixed rate. In dentistry, some of these are the costs of materials, such as implants, crowns, drills, and dental equipment necessary for every dentist to do their job. Taking shortcuts is another way that costs are reduced. This can lead to serious health risks. Are you willing to gamble your health if these shortcuts are taken?

Post-procedure follow-up and/or complications.

What if your dental work requires more than one sitting. I know if you need a root canal, it takes about three visits to the dentist over a period of weeks. Are you going to stay overseas for that amount of time? Any medical procedure can result in complications. Does that mean you have to travel again to go back to the same dentist who did the original work? So much for the saving!

Legalities of Malpractice

This one I’m not getting into too much, as it would take a lot more research and I would have to pretend I know what I’m talking about, lol. But, let’s say there was a case of malpractice on their part when they did your dental work. Other countries have different legal systems than Australia. How would you take legal action to gain any compensation for all the pain and suffering you experience? Something to think about!

Health Insurance

Are you entitled to your Australian health insurance when you get medical treatment overseas? That’s another thing you would have to look into.

Having to get a lot of work done in a short time

Getting complex dental treatment done all at once in a short time frame risks more complications. Like I said before, a root canal takes multiple treatments and needs the teeth and gums time to recover in between treatments.

Health Professional Opinions

I must side with all the Australian Health Professionals who caution people on getting medical work done overseas. Complex dental procedures shouldn’t be taken lightly, warned the ADA, cautioning against going overseas for treatment which can result in painful complications and unforeseen cost.” This comes from Australian Dental Association website.

Are you really saving money in the long run?

I could be enticed into the lure of saving thousands of dollars if I go overseas to get dental treatment. This option does sound and look very good on the outside, with the professional-looking websites and the medical tourism push by agencies, etc.

It might also sound great to have a holiday and mix business with pleasure – or recovery after dental surgery with a holiday. I don’t think they mix too well.

After considering the cost of airfares and accommodation plus the cost of the actual treatment. And with everything I have encountered in my research. The risks associated with the overseas dental option. Possible complications that could arise after the treatment. The advice given by Australian medical professionals.

When you put this all together, to me it is not worth it.

Save Money on Your Dental Treatment

So, I ask the question again, like I did at the start. Do you want to save money on your dental treatment? And stay in Australia and avoid all those risks.

Remember, the main reason going to the dentist is one of my phobias. The cost! I can’t afford big out-of-pocket dental bills.

But I have found an easy, cost-saving solution.

How would you like dentist professionals bidding on your treatment? You get to choose.

Dental Bid helps you access affordable dental care by matching you with Australian dentists who will offer you AT LEAST 25% off your dental treatment costs.

Everyone loves to save money. It means I don’t need to put off my treatment anymore.

To see how Dental Bid works – go here.