Taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to be boring or painful. When children develop good hygiene at an early age, it can make visits to the dentist much more pleasant. Here are some helpful hints to teach kids to care for their teeth. You may be surprised how easy and fun it can be!
1. Cut out sugary drinks
Drinks with a lot of sugar can damage teeth. Instead of sugary juices or soda, try making your own delicious flavoured waters at home with fruit, or offer kids a fruit smoothie made with plain yogurt. A frozen banana is a great source of natural sugar, so you don’t need to add sweeteners.
Take any reusable water bottle or jar with a lid, slice up some favourite fruits like watermelon, pineapple, lemon, and/or orange. You can also get ambitious and add a few clean mint leaves. Put the fruit in your container, and add water. (Get the kids involved with choosing the fruits and popping them into the containers.) After an hour or so that flavoured water will be delicious!
2. Slow Your Roll!
If you’re “rushing your brushing,” teeth aren’t benefiting as much from the cleaning. Brush thoroughly and pay attention to all teeth, especially those molars in back. For kids, play or sing a song while they brush. Pick a popular pump-up song or summer jam and rock out while brushing. It’ll make the time go by quickly.
For children over the age of three, use a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen enamel (younger children benefit from gentle cleaning with water). Encourage kids to floss as well — some floss comes decorated with cool cartoon characters, or just put a sticker on the front of your regular brand! Finish with a swish of water, moving it around the mouth to the musical beat.
3. Avoid Cavities
A cavity is a hole in the tooth caused by bacteria, which eats through the enamel or hard surface of the tooth. It leaves a tooth vulnerable (it can be painful). Fewer cavities means fewer fillings at the dentist, and healthier teeth. By brushing regularly and getting rid of bacteria and food particles, children can take pride in their sparkling smiles. Sometimes simply letting your child choose his/her own toothbrush is enough to spark their enthusiasm about brushing.
Help your kids do an experiment about cavities. Take an apple and poke a dime-sized hole in it with a pencil or something similar. Leave it on the counter for a few days, and watch what happens. Seeing how quickly decay can occur can be an important lesson.