Two Simple Dental Hygiene Tips for Stubborn Children

Stubborn little gorl doesn't want to brush her teethDo you ever read parenting advice magazines or blogs and find yourself wondering who in the world has children that well behaved? Sure, you love your kids, but in addition to being cute, smart, and loving, they’re also excitable and stubborn, especially when it comes to routine behaviors like cleaning up a mess or caring for their teeth. The next time your little one digs his or her heels in when it’s time to brush, try one of our handy tips.

1. Reward Good Habits as they Accumulate

Think about the last time you made a resolution to get healthy and lose weight. If you dove headfirst into the endeavor, banishing all junk food, strictly limiting your calories, and working out every day, you probably burned out relatively quickly. However, if you took the enterprise in stages, first eliminating sodas, then incorporating more exercise, and then altering your favorite recipes to be healthier, you were probably more successful long term.

In a similar manner, it’s unrealistic to expect a child, especially a stubborn one, to become a brushing superstar in a day. Instead, set smaller goals that are tailored to your child’s current behaviors and reward him or her for meeting them. For example:

  • If your child only brushes before bed, make brushing twice a day (say, once before leaving for school and again before bed) the goal.
  • If your kiddo normally brushes for a few seconds, try getting them up to a full minute. Then, move on to brushing for the ADA recommended two minutes.

Rewards should involve non-food items, such as stickers, small toys, or an extra 15 minutes playing video games or texting with friends.

2. Use Music to Make Brushing Fun

Many children balk at teeth-cleaning time because they find standing in front of the mirror and brushing for two minutes utterly boring. Luckily, one of the best ways to keep your child engaged while brushing is also the simplest. Simply download his or her favorite song onto your mobile device (chances are, it’s already been downloaded and played a thousand times already) and play a two minute segment of the song while your child brushes.

About Your Southlake Dentists

A native Texan, Dr. Gregory Wright opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. Together, he and Dr. Victoria Heron proudly provide exceptional family, general, and cosmetic dental care to families and patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our Southlake children’s dentist office at (817) 481-7999.