One of the most common things we hear our adult patients say is “I wish I would have taken better care of my teeth when I was younger.”
Many times we tell kids “brush and floss and don’t eat candy or you’re going to get cavities” as an effort to motivate them to properly take care of their teeth. It’s hard to help children, who understandably see the world with “here and now” vision, realize the importance of preventative care and the effects it can have on a lifetime of health. So while it is very important to teach our children about prevention and the consequences of not doing so, it can be equally as important to supplement that with positive reinforcement to help them learn to enjoy the preventative measures themselves.
If we can teach our children to actually enjoy healthy habits at a young age, instead of just using scare tactics to avoid unhealthy habits, they will certainly have a more solid foundation for a lifetime of choosing a healthy path.
- Have an assortment of healthy and natural “treats” (carrot sticks, fruit pieces, etc) available.
- Allow the child to be part of the decision making process.
- Be a good role model in what your choices and habits are.
- Use fun dental hygiene products! Tooth Tunes toothbrushes are an excellent example. It plays music when the brush touches the teeth. Having fun while brushing positively reinforces the habit, whether they understand the concept of prevention or not.