The Reluctant Brusher

categories: Blog

Do you have a reluctant brusher?

Easter has just hopped around the corner, and with all those extra treats and sweet delights it more important than ever to ensure our children take care of their little pearls. But what do you do when the bathroom becomes a battle ground? From the toddler tearaway, testing boundaries, to the reluctant teen, we have searched the web and spoken to parents to discover the secret behind encouraging good oral hygiene.

Identify the reasons why

Understanding why your child is reluctant could be the key to solving this dilemma. It’s important to establish first that your child is not in pain: a teething toddler may be reluctant to brush if her gums are sore or, an older child may be experiencing discomfort. Opening the lines of communication can be crucial to supporting them at this time.

Dealing with a child who refuses to clean their teeth can leave you feeling both frustrated and concerned, but it’s important to stay calm and approachable. Use gentle questioning when encouraging your children to share. This can be an especially sensitive topic for older children as personal hygiene often relates to self-esteem. Asking if they are able identify for themselves ways to move forward from this can empower them to take the steps needed to improve things.


Routine behaviour refers your ability to complete tasks automatically. From getting dressed to making a cup of tea, it’s likely that us adults do things in the same order each time and the therefore, establishing a set daily routine is essential for brushing to become a robotic action for our children.

According to the international dental journal, ‘chunking’ activities together can help us associate and create new patterns of thinking. For a young child, comprising brushing as part of their bedtime routine can encourage ongoing oral hygiene. Knowing that this action comes, for example, before story time but after putting on their PJ’s, can also make the task less daunting for those who are more reluctant.

Establishing a new routine for the older child could involve joining brushing with an existing activity. For example, placing their toothbrush by their alarm clock: this helps them to remember to brush when setting it at night, and again when they wake in the morning.

How we can help

We are here to support you as a family and that means ensuring your children are armed with the right information and guidance to maintain a healthy attitude towards their teeth. We have a personal promise to all nervous patients and our philosophy is to provide first class care and service that is both personal and professional. We will always treat you as an individual and put your needs and expectations first. We are all dental patients too and treat you as we would expect to be treated ourselves! That includes your children. We are here to talk both you and them through dental hygiene, encourage the implementation of a routine and address any concerns you may have.

Paul Lowe Dentistry offer free dental check-ups and x-rays for children up to the age of 16 years if either parent is a registered with us

To book your child’s Consultation or regular check-up call 0121 711 2424.