Mistakes to Never Make When Enforcing Dental Care Rules

Mistakes to Never Make When Enforcing Dental Care Rules
Posted on 07/22/2019

Children need to develop positive dental care habits at a very young age. When they develop good habits, they have less room for bad ones to creep in. Setting rules is important when kids hesitate to brush and floss. Once you set dental rules for kids who have a hard time being consistent with their dental care routine, don't make these mistakes when enforcing the rules.

1. Looking the Other Way When Kids Break Rules

Kids only take rules seriously when consequences exist for breaking them. In fact, many children push the limits just to see how far they can extend them. If you look the other way when your kids break a rule in the hopes that they'll do better next time, you may feel like you're being a kind parent. However, this doesn’t do them any favors.

Instead, bring up the rule right away when kids break it. Keep your cool and patiently explain that the rule exists for their own best interests. Then proceed to set whatever limits you've warned them would be set. That can be something as simple as putting them in a time-out or taking away privileges to play a game. The consequences don't have to be big to get kids' attention.

2. Ignoring Complaints Your Kids Have

When children complain about daily dental chores, always pay attention. You may decide that they just want a reason to get out of doing their dental routine. On the other hand, you may find that your kids have an underlying reason that they don't want to brush, floss, or swish with mouthwash.

Tooth decay and gum disease become big problems for some kids. If they haven't been to the dentist in a while for a checkup, they may have pain from an undiagnosed and untreated condition. Practice active listening when kids complain of problems when brushing.

3. Expecting Kids to Do What You Won't

Many kids have a sharp ability to spot double standards and talk about them to parents. If you have rules that require your kids to swish with mouthwash, yet you won't do that yourself, children can often pick up on that. Don't make rules for your kids that you aren't willing to also follow. Make a point of showing your children that you follow the rules too.

If your children do catch you making dental care mistakes of your own, acknowledge your mistake. Then tell them what you plan to do to correct it in the future. Follow through on any promises to do better and prioritize taking care of your own teeth too.

4. Not Supervising Teeth Brushing

Observing your kids during their dental care routine is a good idea for many reasons. Not supervising can result in kids repeating multiple mistakes. Also, this gives you the opportunity to heap praise on your kids for a job well done. Since many misbehaving kids merely want attention, giving them what they want for doing the right things can make you both happy.

When you watch your kids brush their teeth, you can make sure that every tooth gets brushed. Also, you can gently remind kids to brush for the entire two minutes that the American Dental Association recommends. If your kids are under six years old and struggle to brush their teeth correctly, do it for them until they get the technique down.

5. Expecting Perfection From You or Your Kids

You aren't going to perfectly teach your kids to care for and about their teeth. Likewise, no child will be able to take care of their teeth and follow the right dental care habits every single day. If you expect perfection, that can just give kids anxiety about taking care of their teeth.

When enforcing the rules, consider whether kids accidentally forgot to do something or have deliberately avoided dental care. Have a little wiggle room. Be patient and talk about how you make mistakes, too, but reiterate why the rules are in place. Being gentle and understanding can and should coincide with enforcing dental care rules.

6. Zapping the Fun Out of Brushing

A daily dental care routine can be a lot of fun. Many kids miss that because they come to think of brushing their teeth, flossing, and swishing with mouthwash as undesirable chores. While setting rules, also talk about all the reasons your kids enjoy brushing. That can mean getting them character-themed toothbrushes or floss ticks decorated with Disney princesses.

Although kids need to take responsibility for taking care of their teeth, make it as easy for them as possible. Play kids dental-themed songs to pass the time as they brush, or even create games to engage children. Sing their praises every time they brush their teeth or otherwise care for their teeth without being asked. Create positive memories around dental care.

Finally, empower your kids to take consistent care of their teeth by enforcing rules and taking them regular exams and cleanings. Contact Dentistry for Children & Adolescents to make appointments for your kids. Since 1968, we have prioritized providing the highest standard of pediatric dental care to families in Edina, Minnetonka, Burnsville, and the surrounding areas.


Dentistry for Children & Adolescents

  • Edina Office - 7373 France Ave. S., Suite 402, Edina, MN 55435 Phone: 952-831-4400
  • Burnsville Office - 14050 Nicollet Ave., Suite 100, Burnsville, MN 55337 Phone: 952-435-4102
  • Eden Prairie Office - 6385 Old Shady Oak Road, Suite 150, Eden Prairie , MN 55344 Phone: 952-932-0920

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