Kids aren’t always excited about brushing, flossing and taking care of their teeth in general. So in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month, let’s explore some ways to make oral care more exciting!
- Start early. Even before your baby cuts his very first tooth, get your little one used to the idea of baby dental care by gently rubbing his gums with a washcloth at bath time. Once the first tooth is cut (and after you’ve recovered from the meltdown involved in said tooth-cutting), you can start brushing!
- Make it natural. Harsh, chemical-laden toothpastes can burn your toddler’s sensitive tongue and gums. (Yucky!) Instead, opt for mild, chemical-free and naturally flavored toothpaste formulas. (Like this yummy-tasting toddler toothpaste.)
- Go wild. With the toothbrush, that is. Fun colors, patterns and shapes (how about a banana shaped baby toothbrush?) can spice up an otherwise unexciting routine. If your child is doing the brushing himself, be sure to look for a soft-bristled brush with an easily-graspable handle, like this vibrantly colored toddler toothbrush from Smile Bright.
- One word: stickers. No scientific study needed here ““ stickers are the answer to making anything fun, including dental hygiene. Make a checklist of all the things your child needs to do (flossing; brushing teeth, tongue and gums; rinsing) and “check” off each item with a fun sticker!
- Skip sweets. OK, this doesn’t exactly seem fun, but it’s important to teach kids about the connection between sugar and tooth decay. And it’s not just lollipops you have to worry about ““ sugary drinks are just as precarious for your kids’ choppers. Don’t put baby to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or other sweetened liquid (bacteria can thrive during sleep). For older kids, skip the sippy cup filled with juice and give water instead.
- See a dentist. Find a pediatric dentist in your area and make an appointment by your baby’s 1st birthday. (Even if he hasn’t cut a tooth yet ““ lucky you.) Get older kids excited about dental checkups by offering rewards for receiving a clean bill of dental health.
Check out Vitacost.com for a wide selection of children’s vitamins and dental health products. And in between brushings, keep your kiddies entertained with this fun Wordsearch puzzle, courtesy of the American Dental Association.