Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Time to Brush Your Teeth - Avoiding Bedtime Battles

It's the end of the day and almost time to put your children to bed. You should be relieved as you will soon be able to catch up on things and head to bed yourself. But instead your stomach is in knots because you know what is coming next... The Teeth Brushing Battle!

You know how important it is that your children brush their teeth before going to sleep. If they go to bed without brushing then food particles and bacteria will go to work on their teeth, ending in tooth decay and cavities. Yet you are tired and don't feel like arguing.

How can you get them to brush their teeth without ending up stressed out?

Making Brushing Fun

There are a few things you can do to add a little fun to teeth brushing. Try some of these strategies:

· Google photos of what happens to teeth that are not taken care of. Explain what plaque does to teeth and how removing it by brushing is the solution. You can buy tablets that turn teeth red where plaque is present so they can improve accuracy.

· Buy your children new toothbrushes with their favorite cartoon characters. There are toothbrushes that spin, glow in the dark, and keep track of time. Let them choose.

· Teeth brushing should be part of your morning and evening routines. When children know what comes next they are quicker to respond.

· Children should spend a full 2 minutes brushing their teeth. Pick out a song the same length. Then use the song as a timer. Switch up the song every now and then as a surprise.

· Try an incentive sticker chart. Each time they brush their teeth they put stickers on the chart. After a certain number of stickers they can choose a prize or special time with Mom and Dad.

Teach Them the Right Way to Brush

Once you get them to brush you have to make sure they are doing it correctly. Go over the steps involved in proper brushing techniques:

1. Add a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the brush.

2. Start at the gum line, brushing away from the gums.

3. Use short strokes to brush top, front and back of each tooth.

4. Floss afterwards in order to get food that hides in between teeth.

Of course, you have an important role in getting your kids to brush their teeth. Children are influenced by their parents and learn by example. That means they should see you brushing and flossing too.

Your children may try to push you into skipping toothbrush time but you must remain firm. If you let it slide once then they will know it is possible to win the battle. And no one wins when teeth are not cleaned. Stick to the plan and let them see you are serious about the importance of their dental health.

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