Knowing how to practice good oral hygiene is an essential life skill. It’ll help reduce your child’s risk of cavities, gum disease, and other health issues throughout the course of their life. However, our pediatric dentist in Grand Rapids, MI, knows that trying to get a stubborn child to brush their teeth can be easier said than done.
Here’s what Dr. Kim recommends.
It’ll be easier for your child to stick to new habits when you provide positive reinforcement. For many children, this could be as simple as creating a reward chart and letting your child add a fun sticker each time they brush their teeth. For other children, saying that you’re proud of them and giving them a high five after brushing their teeth can be enough positive reinforcement to keep them on track.
Each time that you reward teeth brushing, you’re reinforcing positive behaviors that will benefit your child for the rest of their life. To learn more, be sure to check out our blog post on the top 5 dental hygiene tips for toddlers.
Children’s toothbrushes come in every color in the rainbow and often feature cartoon characters from popular movies and shows. If your child is reluctant to brush their teeth, ask them to pick out their own toothbrush the next time you go grocery shopping. If your child loves their new toothbrush, they’ll be more likely to use it on a daily basis and get a cavity-free checkup at their next pediatric teeth cleaning.
Have you ever heard the expression, “Monkey see, monkey do”? Young children learn best by mimicking the adults in their lives. This means that if you make a point of brushing your teeth in front of your child, they’ll most likely want to copy your behavior and brush their own teeth. Toddlers especially are always looking to prove their own independence by saying, “Let me do it!”
If the family brushes their teeth together, you help reinforce the idea that teeth brushing is a normal part of daily life—not something to rebel against.
If you’re raising a headstrong toddler, you need all the help you can get. Why not enlist the help of the Tooth Fairy when it’s time to brush teeth? No one will raise an eyebrow if you play the Tooth Fairy card. After all, teaching your child how to maintain a healthy smile can be tricky, but worth it.
The next time your child needs to brush their teeth, be sure to mention that the Tooth Fairy pays more for teeth that are clean and healthy. You may notice your child start to put more effort into their teeth brushing routine.
Related: How to Survive Summer Vacation without Cavities →
Dr. Wanki William Kim is an experienced pediatric dentist in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He’s also accepting new patients and would be more than happy to help your child maintain healthy teeth and gums. To schedule your child’s next teeth cleaning appointment, please call the Pediatric Dentistry of Michigan at (616) 447-7900. You may also fill out our online contact form and someone from our team will reach out to you soon.