You cannot start early enough in promoting good oral health in your kids! Strong teeth – including baby teeth care – depend on a nutritious diet and good cleaning habits that help to avoid decay in both primary and permanent teeth.
Primary teeth start showing from about six months of age and this initial set of teeth are all in place by the time a child is approximately two-and-a-half years old. These first teeth are more susceptible to cavities because the enamel is less mineralized than permanent teeth. Children that develop caries, or cavities, in these primary teeth have a greater increase of forming cavities in permanent teeth.
While you’re probably well aware of the importance of good oral hygiene for your kids, there are times when it seems an impossible task to get them to brush and floss! Let’s have a look at a few games and activities you can do with your child to instill these important habits.
Chart the Course
Young children are new to the development of habits and good routines. Help them to remember that brushing and flossing are an everyday part of life with an oral hygiene chart.
- Your chart can be something you draw out on cardboard, have your child create, or even be drawn on the bathroom mirror with a whiteboard pen.
- The idea is for your child to see this reminder every morning and evening to reinforce brushing and flossing.
- Let your child check off, add a sticker or draw a picture or symbol for every day and celebrate at the end of each month!
Timing is Everything
Good brushing technique means brushing your teeth for a complete, two minutes each time. You should be focused for about 30 seconds on every quadrant in your mouth to ensure sufficient cleaning and fresh breath. Do you brush for two minutes? It can be tough but a habit that’s important for everyone – parents and kids alike.
As it’s hard for kids to understand time, it can be a challenge to keep them brushing for two, full minutes. Instead of guessing when two minutes is up, set a timer or the stopwatch on your phone to reinforce how long kids should brush. Or try the Brush DJ app that plays a hip tune that is just two minutes long! Even if you have to start at a shorter time, you can work with your child to build up to two minutes and then it’s a victory for everyone.
Eating nutritious foods is another habit to encourage your child to get into to keep their mouths healthy. Before snack time, put a selection of healthy snacks and a plate out for your child. Have your child create a happy, smiling face using the different sizes and colors of apple slices, broccoli or cauliflower florets, carrot disks, nuts, and raisins.
Snap a photo of your child with their edible art creation and then let them eat their artwork! This is also a great opportunity to talk about how healthy foods help their oral health and are great options instead of junk foods and sweets.
Make it App-en!
In this day-and-age, you won’t be surprised to learn there are many phone apps available for download that will get your kid into learning about and committing to good oral hygiene habits.
- Allow your kids to watch the Brush My Teeth song to learn how best to brush their teeth in the most fun way.
- Tooth brushing games like, Chomper Chums, Aquafresh Brush Time, and much more are available to help you make oral health fun for your kids.
Another critical part of oral hygiene health is regular checkups and cleanings with the dentist. At North Boulder Dental we strive to provide family-friendly dentistry with the most professional, caring dental services in Boulder, CO. Call us at (303) 447-1042 or contact us to set up an appointment for you or your child!