Teaching your child to adopt healthy dental care habits provides benefits that extend far beyond the next trip to the dentist. By educating your child about the importance of brushing his or her teeth multiple times per day, as well as flossing, you'll help to instill habits that the child will carry through adolescence and into adulthood. For some children, however, encouraging tooth brushing can be an uphill battle. It's a battle that you can't afford to lose. Rather than bribing your child to brush his or her teeth properly, here are three different ways that you can encourage this healthy habit.
Create A Routine
Young children thrive on following routines, so it's advantageous to include tooth brushing into the post-meal routine that you create. For many children, it becomes routine to wash their hands after eating and before leaving the kitchen. While some kids aren't keen on this step that temporarily delays their playtime, they'll often quickly come to accept it. Now is the time to include a trip to the bathroom for tooth brushing. Even though your children might be resistant on this detour, it's important that you're vigilant about upholding it. In time, the kids will come to accept that their teeth must be brushed before moving onto more exciting activities.
Incorporate A Mobile App
Struggling with providing an incentive for your child to brush his or her teeth? There's an app for that. Many app manufacturers have child's apps that encourage tooth brushing. If you let your child play with your tablet or smartphone, download one of these apps and present it to your child. Although each app is different, the general theme among many is that the child will get to play a short game that focuses on the importance of oral health, and then be reminded by in-app characters that it's time to brush. Many apps have a brushing timer to ensure that your child doesn't end this healthy habit prematurely, too.
Set A Positive Example
It can be hard to teach your children the importance of brushing their teeth if they seldom see you doing it. Make a habit of brushing your teeth at the same time as your children. It'll serve as some valuable "together time," and send the message that this habit is important. For younger children, you can have them mimic your moves -- for example, brushing the top teeth, brushing the bottom teeth, using circular brushing motions and more. Talk to a local dentist, like John S. Lyon DDS, for more information.