How Do I Convince Someone to Brush Their Teeth?
Getting someone to brush their teeth seems like one of those things that you shouldn’t have to do, but the unfortunate reality is that dental hygiene is not high on the priority list for many people. Years of bad habits formed as a child carry over into adult life and can affect relationships with friends and family, and especially with significant others, including spouses and fiancees.
But, it’s not too late to help someone change those unhealthy habits. Here are some strategies that may help change the conversation around oral health in your house.
From sleep trackers to fitness watches, people love tracking their performance. Why should teeth be any different?
Take some pictures of the person’s teeth and show them what they look like to the outside world. We often do not see ourselves in the way that others see us, and the new perspective may be eye opening enough to change their mind.
You’ll also have a starting point to track progress over time. Commit to taking new photos every month or even every week to help them see how things are progressing as their dental habits improve.
Here are some numbers that may help fuel the visual evidence. According to the Oral Health Foundation:
- 66 percent of adults have visible plaque on their teeth
- 74 percent of adults have had at least one tooth extracted
- 29 percent of adults have regular tooth pain
No one should want to be part of these statistics. With a few simple behavior changes, your significant other does not have to be.
No one likes to tell someone else that they have bad breath or unsightly teeth, especially when it’s someone you love. However, sometimes honesty really is the best medicine. Tiptoeing around the issue is not going to incite long-term change.
Note that being honest is not the same as being mean. You can communicate your thoughts and feelings in a calm and rational way. If he or she starts to get defensive or angry, remind them that you are just trying to help and change their life (and yours) for the better.
If you do not feel comfortable having a conversation like this in person, write down your thoughts and then make time to for a discussion about them. Being open with your feelings may also get to the root of why he or she does not take care of his teeth.
And, remember that these changes take time. You will likely need to have some version of the conversation multiple times as you work through the behavior change. Continue to provide positive reinforcement when they do brush their teeth and gently remind them when they do not.
Call for Reinforcement
If they won’t listen to you, no matter how eloquent your thoughts or how much information you provide, it might be time to consult a dentist. A dentist can offer an objective and professional opinion that may resonate better than what you or other friends and family members say.
Make an appointment and go with them to visit the dentist. Our team at 1st Family Dental has heard it all when it comes to people who do not take care of their teeth, so we’re ready for whatever your significant other might have up their sleeve.
If you suspect that there might be depression or other mental issues at the heart of the dental behavior, you should also consult a therapist to help them work through them.
Few things in life happen “just because” — not brushing may be the result of a traumatic childhood experience or other event that’s been suppressed over the years. Getting it into the open will lead to long-term behavior change.
These issues are never easy to tackle, but a little effort and perseverance now will reap lifelong benefits for you and your family.
Join Us In the Comments!
How do I get my son to finally start brushing his teeth before it get worse. I’m very concern.
My 34 year old adult son doesn’t brush his teeth. There’s is build up food between his teeth. Some of his upper teeth are turning black. His teeth look very very unhealthy and unattractive. He has a very beautiful smile and he smiles a lot. This is very concerning. I don’t want him to be embarassed and I’m afraid that one of these days it’s going to happen. Most of all, I’m concern about his over all health.
I totally understand your concern. My 28 year old son will not brush his teeth. I have tried buying him all kinds of cool toothbrushes, toothpaste etc…to maybe see if that would work. My father lost all of his teeth at an early age and died of a heart attack at 52. I believe your teeth and health are connected. I worry so much about my son. Not to mention it is very unattractive. I take it personally because he wasn’t brought up like that. We get in to an argument every time it is brought up.
Sorry, but I am glad to know I am not the only one. I know I taught him to brush his teeth but his mom lost all her teeth by 38, see claims due to genetically bad teeth so all my kids seem to have resigned themselves to this fact. It’s horrific!
Thanks for sharing this blog. This will surely help parents encourage their kids to properly brush their teeth. We, Brushie Team, also has the same passion for dental care. Brushies makes healthy habits and confident smiles a game they won’t want to put down. Let’s face it, tooth brushing time is not the most highly anticipated moment in a child’s day. When we ask them to stop what they are doing to brush their teeth, we parents make matters worse we ask them to do it properly and for a whole two minutes. The Brushies team has designed a loophole to this universal parental problem. Instead of asking kids to stop what they are doing to brush, we invite them to engage in a fun and exciting game WHILE they brush! With a long battery life, your child can engage in maximum smileage without pesky interruptions. Check out our Brushie products at http://www.mybrushies.com and be amazed of what it can actually do to help your kids become excited to brush!