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Why Praising Your Child for Brushing Their Teeth Pays off

March 4, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — newengland-kids @ 8:21 pm
father and son brushing teeth together

You might think it will be easier just to keep brushing the teeth of your young child for them. That may be true, but also consider that praising them for doing it can foster independence and put your child in a great position to develop good oral hygiene habits. Keep reading to learn from a pediatric dentist in Auburn why you should encourage your child to handle brushing teeth on their own and how to go about it to promote children’s dental health.

Supported by Research

According to a study published in the journal Child Development, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, and the Santa Fe Institute evaluated how three-year-olds brushed their teeth and the connection between their efforts and how often they received praise from their parents.

Although the study only consisted of 81 children, they discovered over 16 days that most participants brushed longer when they received more praise and less instruction. The data was collected through surveys and video submissions from the parents.

How to Encourage Your Child’s Toothbrushing Routine

The first step you must take is to hand over the toothbrush to your child. It is the only way they’ll learn to effectively brush their own teeth. This may seem like more work initially but allowing them to steer the process is great for fostering improvement in their brushing skills, leading them to adopt better oral hygiene habits with age.

Naturally, you’ll need to assist to ensure they clean those hard-to-reach areas but while they’re holding the brush, be sure to offer appropriate praise. You can do this by:

  • Consider the words you choose, using “Good job,” “You’re doing great,” or “very good.”
  • Make eye contact with your child so they can see the expression on your face. Words mean a lot but so does facial movement.
  • Focus more on their effort than the actual result. Yes, you want to make sure their teeth are clean but praising their attempt will encourage them to keep going.

Notice that your kids become more engaged with their oral hygiene as you offer more praise. By keeping these tips from a pediatric dentist in Auburn in mind, you can do a great job of promoting children’s dental health.

About the Practice

At New England Kids Pediatric Dentistry, General Dentistry, and Orthodontics, we have a specially trained team of moms, and our office is filled with video games and a playhouse to help ensure your child has a great visit. Our average wait time is only five minutes, plus we offer Saturday appointments. Sedation dentistry is available to help your child relax. Encouraging your little one to take care of brushing teeth on their own can encourage great habits, plus our dentists will be sure to praise them for it during a dental checkup and cleaning which you can schedule on our website or by calling (508) 832-6278.

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