By Contributing Author Nan Gibbons of Eat Breathe Blog
Image courtesy of all in green
One of the most important healthy habits you can teach your children is how to brush their teeth correctly and to do so daily. Getting kids to brush their teeth, however, can be a challenge because it’s not a fun activity and they might not understand the importance of good oral hygiene. Here are a few suggestions for making the process easier.
- Kids are natural imitators; don’t forget how much they look up to you and follow your example. Let them see you having fun when you brush your teeth and make sure you use proper brushing technique as you do so. When it’s time for those biannual trips to the dentist, don’t act scared or complain. Your children will only imitate your behavior and figure they should be scared too. If you seem to be looking forward to the visit, kids will have an easier chance at enjoying the activity. Consider playing up the fact that you’ll get a new toothbrush and maybe even a small reward for coming into the office.
- Simply getting your kids to brush their teeth may seem like an accomplishment, but the effort can be wasted if they don’t use the proper technique. Be gentle when correcting their mistakes. Tailor your instructions so it seems like you’re explaining the rules of a game rather than laying down the law. If they’ve been having trouble with a particular aspect of the technique, be sure to praise them when they get it right.
- When it comes to proper brushing technique, don’t assume your methods are correct just because you’re an adult. Over the years, many adults develop sloppy brushing techniques or forget the specifics. One of the best things you can do is go to the dentist for a short refresher course. Take your child along so the dentist can directly show him or her at the same time.
- Most kids are motivated by fun. Sometimes playtime can seem like the only thing on their minds. Use this to your advantage and make tooth brushing seem like a game. Try making up a song about taking care of your teeth and singing it while you brush. The unexpected and entertaining nature of such a sight will make the child want to play along, especially if there are songs for both morning and evening brushings.
- After you brush your teeth, be sure to smile both into the mirror and at your child. Show how glad you are to have clean teeth. Be excited about those pearly whites! Show this same enthusiasm after your child has brushed his or her own teeth and be sure to praise your child for doing an excellent job.
Seeing a dentist regularly is a great idea to build good habits and take care of your family’s overall dental health. Investing in dental insurance will make the visits much more affordable. You won’t have to pay out of pocket for any procedures, from cleanings to fillings. A familiarity with a friendly dentist will help when you encourage your children to take care of their teeth and can help you with your own dental health as well.
About the Author: Nan Gibbons is the proud single mother of her three-year-old son Reid. As a licensed nutritionist and personal trainer, she owns and operates her own personal training business in San Diego. In their free team, Nan and Reid enjoy exploring the beach with their lab mix Cody, putting together puzzles, and having healthy cooking adventures. Visit her blog: Eat Breathe Blog