Brushing and Flossing
Kids love to mimic everything they see their parents do, and that includes brushing and flossing their teeth. Set a good example and let your kids see you brush and floss every morning and night. If they are too young to care for their own teeth, follow up by brushing and flossing for them. To make it fun, make up a song or a rhyme about tooth care that you can use while brushing. Don’t forget to brush your tongue!
Take your child to the store with you and let them pick out their own toothbrush. This will help them get more excited about brushing their teeth. Make sure they get a brush with soft bristles. They can choose something colorful or one with one of their favorite cartoon characters on it. They can choose a spinning brush or a manual brush. Make it fun!
Many kids think the taste of toothpaste is disgusting, and even gag on it. Amuse them by buying special kids flavored toothpastes like strawberry and watermelon.
Use a Timer
The American Dental Association advocates brushing for two minutes, twice a day. Tell your kids how important it is to brush for this amount of time, and why (to prevent cavities, protect your gums, promote fresh breath, and keep your teeth white and shiny.) Make a game out of it by buying a 2-minute sand timer with colored sand. Let your child flip the sand timer over when they start brushing their teeth, and watch as the sand falls through until their time is up. Alternatively, if you allow them to play with your cell phone, you can let them choose a special alarm sound that will go off especially for tooth brushing time.
Books and Videos
Children’s books and videos about oral hygiene and visiting the dentist are great teaching tools. They can create an interest in oral health in your child and teach them the ABC’s of oral care. Examples of books are Tooth Trouble by Jane Clarke and Mabel Moose Wont Brush Her Teeth by Devyn Shcneebeli. You can also show your child a fun video about brushing for kids.
Oral health is the first to decline when your diet isn’t good. Sugary foods and sodas cause tooth decay. Here are the best foods for your child’s teeth and gums (recipe included!): Cheese: Eating cheese lowers your child’s risk of tooth decay and strengthens enamel. Yogurt: The probiotics in yogurt benefits your child’s gum health. Leafy greens: Leafy greens build enamel and treat gum disease. Apples: Eating apples stimulates your child’s gums.Carrots: Eating a handful of crunchy baby carrots increases saliva production, which reduces the risk of cavities. Celery: When your child eats celery, it acts a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from the teeth. It is also good for gum health.Almonds: Almonds are great for your child’s teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein, which make the teeth stronger.
Recipe: Apple Almond Salad
- 5 apples, cubed
- ½ cup sliced celery
- ½ cup chopped almonds
- ½ cup reduced fat mayonnaise
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 head of lettuce, washed
Combine apples, celery, almonds, mayonnaise, and lemons in a large bowl; toss to coat. Serve over fresh lettuce leaves.
*Adapted from Delta Dental
To celebrate your child’s toothbrushing and flossing achievements, create a reward system using fun stickers. Take your child to the local craft store and let them choose their own fun stickers to use for the project. At home, create a brushing and flossing themed poster representing every day of the month. Decorate with teeth, toothbrushes, kissy faces, healthy smiles, and the snacks listed above. Every time your child brushes and/or flosses, let them place a sticker on the space for that day of the week to signify that they earned their mark!
Dentist Visit Rewards
Regular checkups with the dentist are a part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Surprise your child with some special one-on-one or family time after their dentist visit by playing 20 questions or planning a scavenger hunt.
Dr. Sachin Desai at Glendora Family Dentistry is a trusted family dentist leading a team of friendly dental professionals. At Glendora Family Dentistry we transform smiles and lives by offering personalized care using modern technology. Call (626)427-6236 to request an appointment today.