Instilling good dental habits in your kids from a young age can be challenging, especially with all the sweets that are out there today. Sometimes just convincing them to brush their teeth on a regular basis can be hard enough.
The tools of bribery that we often find ourselves using might not work in this situation. Rather than offering your child sugary candies for practicing good dental hygiene, use these other methods to help them succeed. These will not only keep their teeth healthy, but encourage them to be positive about visiting the dentist, and continue brushing and flossing on a regular basis.
It starts young
You should be encouraging your child to brush as soon as they get their first tooth, even if it isn’t with toothpaste. The bristles will be enough for at least a little while to keep the enamel of their teeth protected. Food particles and the sugary coating from drinks are some of the most destructive things for the enamel. These need to be scrubbed off every night before bed to ensure no cavities will have the chance to form.
During these younger years, it is equally important to be encouraging as it is to give rewards for following through with the task at hand. Show your child that you are brushing as well, encouraging them to use the same motions and techniques that you are using. If they still have problems remembering, there are a few different techniques that can be used, ensuring they will work towards their reward by being diligent with brushing their teeth.
Before even looking for rewards that will make it easier for kids to remember to brush their teeth, it is important to get the things that will make them excited to do so in the first place. Start out by getting a toothbrush modeled after their favorite cartoon character, a fun cup to rinse their mouths out with afterward, and when they are old enough, their favorite flavors of toothpaste. Once they have gotten past this stage, start to offer rewards for remembering to brush their teeth.
Start off with a chart with spaces for in the morning and the evening every night. Every time they brush their teeth, they are able to add one sticker to the chart. This is a fun way for them to keep track of their progress, and help you realize where improvement needs to be made. From here you can offer rewards on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis, depending on what you think is best. Instead of choosing from sugary candies, instead offer prizes such as a trip to the movie theater, a day at the park, or even a toy that has been on their mind for a while. This small thing will make a huge difference.
Kids will be more likely to brush their teeth when methods of positive reinforcement are put into place. Encourage them to brush by ensure that they will be rewarded for it. By setting up these good dental habits early on in life, their teeth and gums will be healthier well into their adult life.
Cassie writes for www.burgpediatricdentistry.com on the techniques for helping your kids establish good dental hygiene habits. In addition she has written on what to expect from the first visit, and what to do should a cavity happen in a baby tooth.