As anyone with children can attest to, getting your little ones to practice sound dental hygiene — especially the dreaded task of *brushing* — can be a challenging endeavor, fraught with protestations, hemming and hawing, and flat-out refusal. Here are some sure-fire ways to encourage your little ones to brush (correctly and regularly), and even make the onerous task enjoyable!
Here are our 5 tips for parents to encourage your children to brush:
- 1. Give them the right equipment: In other words, furnish them with a fun brush to make the task of brushing more enjoyable. This is one of those golden opportunities to allow them the autonomy of picking their favorite cartoon character or even splurging on an electric toothbrush — the novelty is sure to pay dividends!
- 2. Illustrate the correct way: Just like with anyone doing anything, it’s important to remember that your children might be more predisposed to brushing if they’ve been taught the proper method. Be patient — this could take some repetition.
- 3. Explain the “why”: An easy trap to fall into as a parent is the old “because I said so” mantra. However, why not opt for a different approach? Explain why brushing is important. Healthy teeth, a beautiful smile, and the fun of fighting “cavity bugs” are some easy to remember tidbits of education to impart.
- 4. Motivate through educational incentives: Help your child create a tooth-brushing chart to track their dental hygiene activities (this should include flossing too, of course). Get some colorful stickers or have a marker handy so that your little one can mark off when they brush/floss. Then, create a goal that they work toward and attain after a predetermined amount of “hygienic points”.
- 5. Join in! This is an obvious one. Children learn by example (often when we wish they didn’t!). Make brushing a family event: Children by their very nature want to please their mom or dad, and by brushing together you are effectively multi-tasking. By joining in with your child, you are knocking out your brushing in addition to leading by example.
The above examples are just 5 of many tips available to you to encourage healthy dental habits. Remember, the routines and habits you instill in your child or children will last them your entire life!
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