Remember as a kid picking a piece of candy from the bin at your Cincinnati family dentist whenever you had no cavities? Seems pretty counterproductive, right? Duh. That would be like your doctor handing out cigarettes for every check-up that revealed no cancer. It might bring in business, but doesn’t make any sense health wise.
Still, kids need rewarded for great oral health (in fact, adults do too). But there are numerous ways to positively reinforce healthy brushing that don’t involve candy or a trip to the ice-cream parlor. Let’s take a look at a few.
Play to Their Interest/Hobbies
When a child has a good checkup, you can reinforce the positive benefit by doing something they love. Take them to the playground or their favorite museum. Let them pick the movie. Hit the arcade. Let them pick the family activity for the weekend.
Recognize the Achievement with a Certificate
Kids love certificates. It makes them feel good and reinforces the positive behavior that led to no cavities. You can can make your own certificates for free at Freeprintablecertificates.net.
Literature as a Reward
Every dental visit, gift your child a book that celebrates oral health. Whether they have cavities or not, a book dedicated to tooth brushing or dental care can encourage them to care for their teeth. “Sugarbug Doug: All About Cavities, Plaque, and Teeth” explains the nature of cavities in a fun and educational way. “The Tooth Book” is Dr. Seuss’s ode to teeth the whole family will enjoy.
Celebrate Going to the Dentist Even if There Are Cavities
Even if a cavity or 2 are discovered, it’s important to still reinforce going to the dentist as a positive experience. Stop by the playground on the way home. Print up a certificate to recognize something good that did happen during the appointment, such as sitting still, brushing more often, etc.
Adults Need Positive Reinforcement Too
It’s no secret that many adults put off going to the dentist. No matter your age, you need positive reinforcement too. Plan to treat yourself to something good after the dentist. Schedule in some you time. Spend time reading your favorite book. Take yourself out for a walk. Buy yourself some music. Treat yourself to happy hour at the neighborhood pub.