From the very moment those little pearly whites push through your baby’s gums they need dutiful care and maintenance to ensure they stick around for a long time. Establishing dental care as early as possible can prevent problems in the future. Daily brushing is key, but kids don’t always want to take the time and often don’t see the point in brushing. Here are five easy tricks to help get your kiddo brushing daily.

Start early. Establishing a routine early on is insanely important. They’re not going to like it at first-it is boring and there’s no point in their minds. But if they have been brushing their teeth every morning and night for as long as they remember, then to their little mind there just isn’t another way. If it has always been happening then it will keep happening.

Monkey see monkey do. Let them see you brushing your teeth and (hopefully) enjoying it. Kids mimic their parents all the time. If they know you have fun brushing your teeth then they will want to have fun too.

Give them the power. Let them pick their own tooth brush and tooth paste (the children’s kind, of course). They don’t have a lot of power and control in their lives, so when you let them make their own decisions they feel better for it. Around age two, you can even let them start brushing more independently. They will be more likely to want to do it if it is on their own terms.

Make it a game. Kids love to play, and they love a good contest. Try playing music for two minutes and see if they can brush properly until the music stops. You could make it a contest by seeing who can make the most bubbles-this makes it fun but the bubbles also let you know they are brushing well.

Give them a reason. ‘But why?’ is often the first thing kids always want to know, so make sure they know why they should brush their teeth. Let them know how serious it is that the evil plaque bugs are drilling down in their teeth and want to ruin their pretty smile. Of course, the only way to kill the nasty bugs is with your Brush Master (toothbrush) and trusty Bug Destroyer (tooth paste).