As a parent, you love to see your children happy and grinning, and most likely know how important it is for kids to take care of their smiles. But whether you’re new to the game or have been a parent for years, you might need to brush up on your oral hygiene knowledge. And, there’s no better time to do so than during National Children’s Dental Health Month.
Taking place every year in February, National Children’s Dental Health Month is a monthlong nationwide initiative to raise awareness of the importance of oral health that dates back to 1941. To keep your kids’ teeth healthy (as well as your own), our Tooth Fairies at Tooth Fairy Headquarters are sharing their top tips for how you can help your kids get a jumpstart on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
Tip #1: Everyone should be brushing teeth twice a day.
Kids can sometimes be resistant to brushing their teeth – whether because it’s a late night and they’re sleepy or just out of pure kid stubbornness! Kids who don’t brush their teeth develop plaque and tarter buildup, which can lead to cavities.
To get kids on board with twice a day teeth brushing, try making a game out of it. Hold a staring contest while you and your kids brush your teeth. First one to blink loses! Or, make a playlist of favorite songs and throw a teeth brushing dance party every morning!
Not sure when you should start brushing your child’s teeth? Easy! Start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears. Be sure to supervise children brushing their teeth until they’re old enough to brush on their own. Make learning how to brush their teeth a fun experience by incorporating rewards, activities or games. And if you still need help teaching your little ones to brush, The Littlest Tooth Fairy has a few quick tips for brushing teeth.
Tip #2: Choose healthy snacks over sugary ones.
Another way to promote a lasting, healthy smile is to reduce your child’s sugar intake. Kids love to feel in control, so let them choose their own snack. You can encourage your child to make wise choices and select a healthy snack by making a game of it. Then, reward your child when he or she selects a nutritious treat.
Need a bit of help? Tooth Fairy in a Box comes with a brushing chart and stickers for your child to track healthy habits, like brushing their teeth twice a day and eating nourishing foods. As the good habits build, so will the sticker chart!
Tip #3: Visit the dentist twice a year.
Developing good habits at an early age is key to maintaining good oral health throughout life. You should schedule your child’s first dentist appointment at the arrival of the first tooth. Scheduling regular dental visits will help with the prevention and treatment of oral diseases to keep your child’s smile beautiful today and for years to come.
Many pediatric dentists offer stickers or other prizes to children after a great checkup. Explaining this to your child will make the trip to the dentist something to look forward to rather than something to dread.
Tip #4: Daily flossing is part of a good oral hygiene routine.
Even the sides of teeth and the spaces in between need a good cleaning. Daily flossing helps to get into these tiny crevices to clean teeth and leave gums healthy and happy. Because flossing requires a certain level of manual dexterity, you’ll likely need to help your kids under the age of 10. While there may be some discomfort the first few times your child flosses, it should never be painful.
While National Children’s Dental Health Month is observed in February, good oral health should be practiced all year-round. If you need help to make brushing teeth a magical experience for your child along the way, we’re here to help.