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Reward System: Take Teeth Cleaning from Boring to Brilliant

Arwen Hann

Protecting your child's teeth from decay is important, but it can often be a struggle to get a child to clean his teeth or have his teeth cleaned every day. A reward system can help get the job done without tears or tantrums.

Instant or Delayed Rewards?

Rewards will only succeed if they are tailored to suit each child, so you will need to work out what sort of system will work for your child.

If your child enjoys working toward a big prize, then try a reward chart. Award your child a sticker each time he cleans his teeth properly or, if he's younger, sits nicely to have his teeth cleaned. Make sure you award the sticker right after a successful teeth cleaning session. When your child reaches a certain number of stickers, give him a reward, such as a new toy or a trip to a favorite local attraction. If your child is old enough, he could choose his own treat to work toward.

If your child needs instant rewards, you could try linking each teeth cleaning session to a prize. Offer an extra book at bedtime or some extra television time the following day. Make sure the reward comes soon after the task is completed. Remind your child why he is getting the reward so he associates it with good teeth cleaning.

Making Teeth Cleaning Fun

As well as traditional reward charts, you can also use rewards to make the actual process of cleaning teeth fun. Try these ideas to liven things up.

  • Use a little imagination to turn teeth cleaning into a game by singing a song or going on an imaginary journey.
  • If you have a tablet or smartphone, try an app, such as a cute timer, to ensure that your child brushes for the proper amount of time. Tell your child he can use the app, but only as long the job is done properly.
  • You could also try this fun Colgate video which explains the importance of keeping those pearly whites clean and healthy.

Colgate also offers plenty of products to help make teeth cleaning fun with special toothpastes and toothbrushes, both manual and battery operated, designed especially for small mouths and featuring popular cartoon characters.

Whatever reward system you decide to use, make sure you are consistent and fair. Don't be afraid to withhold rewards if you don't feel your child has cleaned his teeth properly, but make sure you do follow through when you have promised a treat.

Learn more about early childhood cavities in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

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