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How Can a Timer Teach Kids How to Brush Their Teeth?

As your kids get older, you'll gradually teach them the techniques they need to clean their teeth until they are old enough to do the job themselves. While kids typically learn basic brushing techniques easily enough, they may still not clean their teeth well enough for your liking.

If your child knows how to brush their teeth but is still not doing a good job, they may not be spending enough time on each brushing session. If this is the case, you may find that a timer helps them brush more effectively.

Why Timing Matters

Dental advice recommends that people brush their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes per session. This timing gives you the best chance of giving all your teeth an effective and robust clean. While two minutes might not seem a long time to you, it may seem like an age for kids who need to clean their teeth before getting on with their day or going to bed.

While your child may use the correct brushing techniques, these techniques may not be enough on their own to maintain good oral health. If your child rushes through each brushing session, the chances are that some teeth and areas of the gums won't get as good a clean as others. If you think that your child is not spending enough time on brushing, it may be worth giving them more concrete timing guidance.

Timing Options

To help your child learn how long two minutes actually takes, you can use various timing options. For example, the following tips may help:

  • Timers: Your child can use a watch, stopwatch, kitchen timer or even the timer on a mobile phone to make a two-minute countdown.
  • Electric Toothbrushes: Many electric toothbrushes come with timing buzzers built in. The toothbrush will vibrate after one or two minutes so your child knows when to stop brushing. Some electric toothbrushes for kids also come with special timing devices that help kids build up to the recommended two minutes. For example, some play tunes or can be connected to apps that use cartoons to reward brushing times.
  • Music: Playing two-minute long short songs or rhymes may also be a useful way of keeping your child engaged while they brush.

Bear in mind that kids may not be able to go the two-minute distance from the word go when they start cleaning their own teeth. You may need to gradually build up the time spent on brushing. If they still get really bored after some practice, it may help to split each brushing session into two one-minute chunks. Here, you would encourage your child to clean their top teeth for a minute and then their bottom teeth for the second minute. For more information or advice, contact your family dentist.