Good habits are hard to come by. Mostly because we gravitate towards the familiar, and we don’t like being told what to do. Children embody these resistant characteristics with pride.
Have you ever noticed that children don’t want to do something precisely because an adult wants them to do it? Even if the request is an activity the child would’ve wanted to do anyway?
Why don’t you go outside and play?
You should go to the park.
Do you want spaghetti for dinner?
We’re going to have popsicles for dessert.
Inevitably a child will want to stay inside, never visit the park, refuses to eat pasta, and suddenly has an allergy to popsicles.
Okay, that last one might be far-fetched, but you get the idea.
As parents, we want our kids to develop good habits that help them be healthy now, and into the future.
Besides bathing regularly and eating vitamins (because we gave up on vegetables a long time ago), a key habit we’re all reminded to practice is dental hygiene.
Brushing your teeth, flossing, mouthwash, scrubbing your tongue, the works. Taking adequate care of your mouth each night is a production. Trying to brush a toddler’s teeth as she dances ballet in the bathroom is worse than trying to give a dog a bath.
And don’t get me started on the teenager.
Have you ever been in the kitchen on a Saturday morning and, while you sip your fresh cup of coffee, your adolescent progeny comes downstairs with hair askew and, as he attempts to give you a “good morning” hug, nearly kills you with his dragon breath?
Well, we’ve tried bribery, torture, chores, nagging, and humiliation (okay maybe 4 out of 5) with little progress.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the kid wasn’t sporting a set of braces that costs $5,000! And every time he goes into the orthodontist for a check up, his “score” is 0 out of 5 almost without fail.
We even tried the peer pressure approach by reminding him girls won’t want to be within 10 yards of his lips if his breath could kill a badger. Then I remember that I don’t want to think about my son kissing anyone.
Your son has bad (aka unhealthy) breath you say?
Well, there’s an app for that.
I KNEW IT!
I’m not going to bore you with the details of why bad breath is equal to unhealthy breath, but suffice to say there’s plenty of bacteria in your mouth and some of it is responsible for gum disease.
Mint is awesome because it combines spiffy technology with measured results to create a sort of game you can use to help your kids develop better oral health habits.
Of course, results may vary.
My son, for example, got an “A” right out of the gate. However, because we’ve started measuring his score each night, #1 is much more compliant about brushing regularly.
He’s developing healthy habits and I don’t have to wear flame retardant PJs to avoid getting singed by his dragon breath.
That’s what I call a win-win scenario.
TIP: Turn any chore or desired behavior into a game to help your kids get motivated to work with you instead of against you.
Below is a quick review of the Mint with some photos from our experience the last few weeks.
- Packaging. Any parent has cut themselves trying to open a toy or smashed a box trying to get the blasted tape off. Mint is packaged in a small, minimal box with smooth edges and lots of helpful info.
- Mobile app. The user experience on mobile devices can make or break an app. If it’s coupled with hardware, you do it right or not at all. The Mint app is very friendly and walks the user through setup and various programs to promote oral health.
- Size. The Mint itself is about a third the size of a hockey puck. It’s very portable and sturdy. The mouth guards are interchangeable if you’re sharing the device with family members.
- Multiple users. While one Mint can be paired with multiple devices, right now the app doesn’t allow management of multiple user accounts. This is fine for adults with their own smartphones, but if you’re tracking a few little ones it’s not as practical.
How do you get your kids to brush their teeth? Do you dread going to the dentist? Share in the comments.
This is a Breathometer-sponsored post. They provided me with the Mint device to test and review.
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Also published on Medium.