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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease of kids between the ages of 6 and 11 years. With this in mind, it’s clear that parents should work hard to establish healthy dental hygiene habits as early as possible.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get young kids to listen to good advice. The Tooth Fairy tradition gives you an excellent opportunity to add a compelling, credible voice that will pique your child’s interest and motivate healthy habits.
Using the Tradition to Encourage Good Dental Habits
Add a receipt.
You can inspire good brushing habits in your child by having the Tooth Fairy add a receipt for a lost tooth below their pillow. On the receipt, include a note about how great the tooth looked and how pleased the Tooth Fairy is to be receiving such a clean, healthy tooth. You should then reinforce this by praising your child for their good brushing habits.
Talk about it.
Kids generally start losing their baby teeth between the ages of 5 and 7. Around this time, start talking about how the Tooth Fairy prefers clean, healthy teeth. You might mention that she pays a premium for these teeth. You might also mention that she has been known to leave behind teeth that don’t look especially clean. Be careful not to shame your child; simply use positive messages to clearly demonstrate that there are rewards for brushing regularly.
Keep in contact.
Tooth Fairy visits don’t have to be limited to tooth collection duties. Every so often, slip a notecard beneath your child’s pillow with a message from the Tooth Fairy reminding of the importance of good daily dental hygiene. You can craft your own card using notepaper and glitter as fairy dust to make the interaction seem more magical and authentic.
Make it personal.
One way to ensure that the Tooth Fairy leaves a lasting impression is to leave a personalized gift instead of just money. Whatever the case, always include a note from the Tooth Fairy, which congratulates your child on their good habits and provides tips for maintaining a bright, healthy smile that will keep them out of the dentist’s chair.
Ease worries about the dentist.
According to the American Dental Association, kids should visit the dentist after their first teeth erupt. Unfortunately, many kids worry about visiting the dentist, especially if they’ve never done it before. You can use notes from the Tooth Fairy to ease concerns. You should also review the ADA’s tips for relaxing your child during a dental visit. These include not scheduling appointments during naptimes and saving snacks for after the visit, so your kids won’t have to spend as much time in the dental chair during their visit.
You can also review our list of books to help your child not fear the dentist to help reinforce your creative messages from the Tooth Fairy.