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Teeth Brushing and Your Child

By Randi Morse

I remember when my children were young, they wanted to be as healthy as they could. They loved bath time and washing up and even brushing their teeth! I mistakenly assumed, as most new parents do, that my children would continue to love caring for themselves. I was very wrong! My kids, like most, quickly realized that there were far more fun things to do than brush their teeth or wash up. But creating, and maintaining, healthy brushing habits is vital for children to have a healthy future. Poor dental hygiene has been connected with a variety of different health issues, including heart conditions. There are a number of things that you can do to help your child build good tooth brushing skills.

Brush together - Children love to copy their parents, which is why brushing your teeth with your children is a great idea. Parents tend to get into the habit of brushing their children's teeth when they are very young. Once your children get a bit older, around 3 or so, brushing your teeth with your children helps them realize that teeth brushing is something everyone does. It can also be a great bonding time for you and your child.

Give praise - All children love to be praised, the more you praise them for the good things they're doing, the more apt they will be to do them. All people, especially children, love to be praised, and continually praising your kids for brushing their teeth well gives them the drive to want to continue brushing their teeth. 

Using a reward system - Older children may not react as positively to verbal praise, which is when a reward system can come into play. Children over the age of 5 or 6 can be given a rewards chart. Every time they brush their teeth, at least once every morning and evening, they put a sticker in the appropriate box. Once they reach a certain amount of stickers, they get a reward. Try to avoid the reward being candy or sweets as it goes directly against the purpose of brushing! Rewards like staying up an extra half an hour on the weekend or getting a movie and popcorn night can be fantastic incentives.

They say it takes two weeks to create a habit, but when it comes to children it's more like two years! Children change so quickly, and so often, that you'll find you need to continually monitor them to ensure they keep up healthy habits.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Dawsonville, Ga.

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