Once you see that your child is beginning to grow some teeth, it is also time to think about his or her dental health. Some kids, however, may find taking care of their teeth to be a bit difficult or too much work. Sometimes, making them brush their teeth is a struggle that parents face. That is why it is important to teach them to care about dental health as early as possible.
The best place to teach your children about the importance of dental health is at home. As the first tooth starts to grow, you can start encouraging your kids to have healthy dental habits.
Get your kids excited about taking good care of their teeth with these fun activities.
1. Let your toddler choose his own toothbrush and toothpaste.
For years, various companies have manufactured toothbrushes and toothpaste that have cartoon characters on them. There are also toothbrushes that have lights on them. The lights turn on when you start and turns off after a full recommended 2-minute brushing. These products, which are made to keep your teeth clean and healthy, are designed to be appealing to kids.
The next time you head to the grocery store, ask your kid to choose the toothbrush that has his favorite character on them. Then let him choose his own toothpaste in his favorite flavor. This way, he will always look forward to brushing his teeth.
After every meal, make it a habit to brush your teeth with your kid. Set an example, and tell him why it is important to brush your teeth after you eat. Let him see how you do it and guide him as he brushes his teeth.
2. Make an “I brushed my teeth” chart.
Design a chart that lets your kid put a star beside his name every time he finishes brushing his teeth. Put this chart on the bathroom wall where he can see it while he brushes his teeth.
With this activity, kids tend to get too excited that they do the brushing very quickly just to be able to put a star on the chart. So, make sure that a parent is present while your kid brushes to make sure that he or she is brushing his or her teeth thoroughly. You can add more fun by giving a prize (hint: no candies!) once he or she reaches a certain number of stars.
3. Do an experiment at home!
No, we are not telling you to use harmful chemicals and start boiling liquids. This experiment is easy to do, and is harmless for you and your kids.
Put each of 4 hard-boiled eggs into separate cups. Fill each cup (completely submerging the eggs) with different liquids: soda, vinegar, fruit juice and water. Leave the setup overnight. The following morning, make observations with your kids.
Tell them that the egg shell is pretty much like our teeth. Anything that we drink or eat will also affect our dental health as digestion starts in the mouth. It is important to add a detail to the egg submerged in soda. The egg will completely change in color. Try brushing it off with toothpaste, so kids can see how important toothpaste is.
4. Encourage them to be more conscious with the food that they eat.
Cut out different pictures of food (healthy and unhealthy) from magazines. Ask your kids to put each picture of food into one of these two groups: Healthy and Unhealthy Food. Guide them as they do the groupings. If you need some health, check out our guide about food that is bad for your teeth.
Once your kid is done, review the pictures and ask them why he or she thinks it is healthy or unhealthy, then validate their answer. Gather all the pictures of healthy food and put them inside a bag. Label the bag “Happy Teeth” and tell them that the food inside the bag, does not only make our body healthy, it also keeps our teeth happy.
Place the pictures of the unhealthy food into another bag and label it “Sad Teeth” and tell them how eating sweets make our teeth sad. This activity will help your kids identify the foods that are bad for their teeth. It will also show them how to take care of their general health through the food that they eat.
It is important to have your kids visit their dentist at least once a year. For more information on how to get your kids excited about dental health, visit us at SmilesNY. If you have any questions about Invisalign or pediatric dentistry, call today.