Get Someone to Brush Their Teeth: A How To Manual
It’s not as rare as might think. In fact, trying to get someone to brush their teeth on a regular basis can be a challenge. Let’s face it – the unfortunate reality is that, for some people, dental hygiene doesn’t always make it into their daily routine. It could be that they are carrying over bad habits developed as a child, or they might be stressed are letting their brushing and flossing routines slip.
Still, it’s never too late for you to help someone in your life change their unhealthy habits. Below are some of the strategies we recommend for improving the conversation about oral health among your friends and family.
Try Providing Data to Get Someone to Brush Their Teeth
From fitness watches to sleep trackers, most people today are used to measuring their progress and performance. So why should their dental health be different?
If your friend or family member is open to it, try taking a few pictures of the person’s teeth and show them what they look like. Keep in mind we often see ourselves differently than the rest of the world. This new perspective may be startling enough to change their mind about their hygiene habits.
This strategy will also provide you with a way to track the progress – just commit to taking a new picture every week or month to help them see they are progressing in a healthier direction.
To put things into perspective, consider the following data points from 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
It is not an enviable position to find yourself in – to get someone to brush their teeth. They need to know about their bad breath or cosmetic teeth issues. That being said, sometimes getting straight to the point is the best strategy.
Just keep in mind that resolving to be honest doesn’t mean you have permission to be mean. When you are discussing the issue, stay as calm and rational as you can be. If he or she gets angry or defensive, remind them you are just trying to help.
Also, consider that long-term changes in self-care habits do not happen overnight. You will likely need to reinforce your message multiple times as you progress through the behavior change.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, they may not listen to you. In such cases, it may be time to bring a dentist into the discussion. Your dentist can provide a neutral and professional opinion that could better resonate with them.
If you need to consult with a dentist in the Beaverton area, call us and make an appointment. Our team has years of experience with dental neglect and are ready to help in any way we can.
One other aspect to consider is their mental state – if you suspect the culprit may be depression or other psychological issues, it’s time to consult with a mental health professional.
In the end, to get someone to brush their teeth is never easy to tackle – but a bit of well-intentioned intervention can reap a lifetime of rewards.