5 Ways to Help Kids Change Unhealthy Dental Habits
Positive, healthy dental care habits are the foundation of optimal oral health. Unfortunately, children often develop habits that may ultimately harm their teeth and gums. Whatever reasons your kids have for developing their unhealthy dental habits, focus on helping them make better choices. Consider these simple ways to help kids change bad habits to good ones.
1. Bring Some Fun to Big Changes
Change is one of the most difficult things for any human to handle. If adults have a hard time handling change, imagine how hard change is for kids who haven’t developed coping skills. Keep this in mind when introducing new habits to kids that will replace old ones. Make the process as painless as possible and create a sense of fun around the new habit.
Start a new teeth-brushing routine by giving children a new toothbrush with a fun theme. Teach them how to floss after giving them a flosser in their favorite color. Play simple, fun games related to dental care. Finally, kids should brush their teeth for two minutes at a time. So, play fun, upbeat songs when children brush their teeth to help them pass those two minutes in a pleasant way.
2. Lead by Setting a Stellar Example
Parents are the first role models their kids have, and they will often continue to be their children’s most important role models. Since your kids look to you for an example of how to do many things, establishing good habits and sticking to them in front of your kids can have a powerful impact on their lives. When you change a bad habit, tell them why you chose to change.
Also, always brush your teeth twice per day. Do so in front of your children, and talk to them about why you always stick to your teeth-brushing regimen. This is a good time to bring up all the things that can go wrong when people don’t brush their teeth regularly. If you know your kids struggle to do this twice daily, talk to them about why they need to start brushing this often, too.
3. Supervise Brushing After Implementing Changes
If you notice that your children don’t properly brush their teeth or perhaps don’t actually brush their teeth when they say they will, start supervising their daily dental care habits. Use the sandwich technique to correct bad habits they’ve formed. The sandwich technique makes it easier for kids to hear criticism by putting it between two more positive statements.
Start by letting kids know you appreciate how dedicated they are to brushing their teeth each day. Then let them know why the current way they brush their teeth might not be the best, then show them how they should brush. Be specific about the technique you want them to switch. Lastly, praise them when they show they can brush with the newly learned proper technique.
4. Introduce Healthier Substitutions
If your kids constantly reach for sticky, sugary sweet treats when they want a snack, that needs to change to protect their dental health. Since giving up treats they’ve grown to love and expect can be very difficult for some kids, you may opt to gradually introduce changes.
If you want to start with limited changes, suggest swapping one snack per day with a healthier alternative. Consider which fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds your children truly enjoy. Then, offer their favorite teeth-friendly food as a snack when they want a treat. If they resist, reassure them they can still indulge in the sugary snack later.
5. Let Kids Lead the Way
When implementing major changes, let your children lead the way. At least give them some sense of control over the dental care changes by letting them make choices. For example, if you want them to start using a new toothbrush, let them pick it out. Allow them to choose when to brush their teeth within a certain time frame.
Finally, taking your children to see their dentist regularly for cleanings is an essential part of oral health care. Contact Kids Choice Dental/All About Kids Dental today to make an appointment for your kids today. We are committed to helping children smile brighter and feel good about themselves.