While most people have been encouraged to brush and floss their teeth regularly, it’s a tough habit to establish, especially later in life. That’s why dentists are so keen on helping children start healthy habits early on, so they’re less likely to deal with serious dental problems years down the line because of poor oral health habits. If you’re a parent of a young child, how can you help establish a friendship between kids and their oral health
The first key is starting the habit as early as possible, even before they have teeth.
By wiping their gums with a clean, soft cloth or very soft toothbrush, you can help your infant get used to the idea and sensation of oral cleanliness being a regular part of their day. As they get a little older and begin teething, this ritual can be soothing and enjoyable too.
Don’t Assume They’re Doing It Right
While a child of 3 or 4 may be able to move a toothbrush around their mouth and work up a lather, they probably still need some help adequately brushing every tooth.
This isn’t just a matter of being easily distracted or not fully appreciating the importance of doing a thorough job. Instead, they likely don’t yet have the motor skills and coordination necessary to do a really good job brushing everywhere. In this case, assisting children until they’re more in control goes a long way.
Since you want brushing and flossing to be a lifelong habit for your children, it’s important to give them a reason to care about it before they’re old enough to truly appreciate oral health.
Many parents have found that sticker charts work especially well:
Create a simple grid that covers a week and tape it to the bathroom mirror. (There are plenty of free printable charts available online, or you can draw your own.)
Let your child pick out stickers they like and hang them up next to the chart.
Decide on a simple, (non-sugary) privilege or treat your child will earn if they do a good job filling in the sticker chart each time they brush and floss properly.
Be sure to check with your child’s dentist, as they may have similar ideas and materials right there in their office to share with you.
Make it Fun
Along the same lines as the sticker chart suggested above, anything you can do to make maintaining good oral health less tedious and more fun, the better the chance you’re going to teach your kids to love brushing and flossing in the long run.
There are plenty of novelty toothbrushes, floss holders, flavored toothpastes, and other accessory options you can experiment with to make the whole experience more engaging and enjoyable. Sometimes, all it takes to get a young child interested in brushing and flossing regularly is for them to see you doing it and enjoying it. In fact, if you make a habit of participating with them every day, they might look forward to this special time you have together.
It’s Never Too Late
Although it’s certainly preferable for excellent oral health habits to start when a child is young, it’s never too late to establish good patterns.
If your child is already in school and still doesn’t like to brush and floss, there’s not a moment to lose. You may need to be especially creative to find ways to incentivize their participation, but it can be done.
For advice on your kids and their oral health, ask your local Tooth Corner or check back later, we might have another blog in store for you!
As parents, you know that when your child comes home from school, they often run straight for the pantry! We understand that kids can be a bit hungry after a long day at school and we want to help you provide you with smile-friendly snacks that won’t only fill their bellies, but will benefit their teeth as well!
Try These Smile-Friendly Snacks!
Consuming a lot of starchy and sugary treats in the afternoon can do a number on a child’s teeth—not to mention ruin their appetite for dinner! Sticky, sugary snacks can adhere to your child’s teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing harmful cavities. In order to avoid snack-induced cavities and other oral health concerns, try these ideas instead:
Leafy Greens and Fresh Veggies
Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and collard greens have calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B2, and magnesium–all essential for healthy teeth and gums. Veggies like broccoli and celery are great as well! In addition to being rich in vitamins, broccoli has been shown to create an acid-resistant “shield” for your teeth. As for celery, because of its fibrous material, it massages gums, cleans teeth, and encourages saliva production, making it a natural tooth scrubber!
If your kids like a little crunch in their snack, you could even try making homemade veggie chips! You can use anything from kale and spinach to sweet potatoes and carrots. Simply mix your veggies with enough olive oil to coat them, add any spices you’d like (garlic or pepper is always good), and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, flip your veggies, and then bake until crispy!
Cheese, Milk, and Yogurt
Dairy is the go-to dental snack for a reason! Few other foods give such a great boost of calcium. Cheese and yogurt even help cut acidity, helping protect your child’s teeth from erosion caused by acidic fruit juices. If your child doesn’t just want plain yogurt, fruit and yogurt parfaits are a great option to add some flavor and healthy vitamins to their snack.
Fruit High in Vitamin C
A lack of vitamin C can break down the collagen network in our gums, making them tender and more susceptible to bacteria and gum disease. Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit and kiwi are great sources of Vitamin C. To make their citrus snack fun, you can make fun kabobs with some citrus, berries, and some of their favourite cheeses.
If you’d like some healthy and creative school lunch ideas, check out these tips from Martha Stewart!
Do You Have Anything To Add?
Do you have any healthy snack recipes of your own? We’d love to hear them! Feel free to comment below and share this with your friends and family! Maybe they’ll have snack recipes of their own!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
DID YOU KNOW that about 50 percent of kids experience some type of tooth injury during childhood? Most parents are prepared to treat minor cuts, scrapes and bruises, but it is also important to know how to prevent and treat tooth injuries. It is always good to take advice from a Pediatric dentist in Mississauga and take preventive measures than curative dental care.
As fun as it is, the playground happens to be a hotspot for injury. So, what can you do as a parent to help protect your child from experiencing a tooth injury on the playground? And, what do you do if your child does have an injured tooth?
Ways To Prevent Playground Tooth Injury
Scout Out The Facilities. Make sure there are no rusted, loose, or broken pieces of playground equipment as these frequently result in injury.
Age Appropriate Equipment. The equipment that your children are playing on should be age appropriate. Younger children climbing too high, jumping too far, running too quickly, etc. are the most likely to injure themselves.
Know The Weather Forecast. Rain, snow, and ice can make things slippery and, therefore, more risky.
Check Your Child’s Clothing. Loose clothing is often the cause of falls because it catches easily on things. Dress your child appropriately for the type of playground you will be going to.
Always Supervise. Not only can the equipment cause injury, but your child’s playmates can as well. Some children are rowdier than others and certain types of play may need to be stopped by adults before any injuries occur.
Mouthguards. These are a great option for protecting your child’s teeth during playtime or while participating in sporting events. Mouthguards can prevent chips, fractures, or knockouts of teeth, as well as protect the soft tissues of the mouth.
What To Do If There Is A Tooth Injury
Depending on the accidental incident an emergency dentist in Mississauga may be contacted. If a tooth is knocked out or chipped, please contact the dentist immediately. Chipped or lost teeth can result in infection if not treated properly. Depending on your child’s unique situation, we can best advise you in assuring a positive outcome for your child’s tooth.
Whether the tooth is lost or chipped, try to save the tooth or tooth fragment that has been chipped off and take it to your dentist.
We Care About Your Child’s Safety And Dental Health
Injuring or losing a tooth can be traumatic for some children. As your trusted dental practice, we want to help parents know how to prevent dental trauma and protect their children’s teeth from injury. Nevertheless, accidents do happen. When they do, we’ll be right here to provide the best and most effective care for your child!
Preventive care for kid’s dental health is always better than curative care. While growing up the denture of the children go through rapid changes. With advice from a Child dentist the dental health can be kept intact. At Dr Hassan’s dental clinic it is always our endeavor to provide excellent quality pediatric dental treatment to bring smiles to the faces of kids.
Thank you for being a part of our practice family!
Image by Flickr user Lars Plougmann used under Creative Commons Attribution.
Image cropped and modified from original.
Teaching your toddler to take care of his teeth is just one way you can show your growing child how to take responsibility for his body. This can be a challenge because 3-year-olds are motivated mainly by fun and pleasure, not by health and necessity. If you want to end his resistance to brush, your best bet is to make this nightly chore a fun ritual for him. Here are a few tricks you can use to do just that: