>> Saturday, August 21, 2010
Guest post that I hope is useful to everyone. I know that this is really an important thing to focus on. When I was little, my mom didn't follow up on me every night so I just didn't do it. Then I had four cavities at once! Of course, reducing sugar intake is also helpful!
Few kids know how to properly take care of their teeth, and
fewer actually enjoy it. Here are some strategies to help make
taking care of your kids’ teeth educational and fun!
Build a routine
A routine for caring for your children’s teeth can start when
they’re babies, by wiping down their gums with a clean cloth
after feedings. As they grow into toddlers and teeth appear,
exchange the cloth for small toothbrushes to use twice daily.
As toddlers grow into preschoolers and beyond, you’ve already
established that brushing their teeth is part of your family’s
everyday routine. Make sure that your children brush their
teeth twice a day, preferably in the morning and evening, and
that they practice flossing in between teeth. As your kids grow
older, schedule visits to the dentist twice a year for regular
cleanings and checkups.
Kids need to know that taking care of their teeth is important,
and that there are long-term consequences if they don’t. My
boys – ages eight and five – love to hear about how when they
eat, bacteria come out to play on their teeth, building plaque
that turns to acid. It’s the acid that eats away at their teeth,
rotting them and making them fall out. My kids imagine that
they’re superheroes, fighting plaque with all their might! This
explanation might work for your kids too, but if it doesn’t,
find one that helps explain why taking care of their teeth is
Let Your Child Choose
It’s fun to have a variety of products for kids to choose from
when it comes to taking care of their teeth. Have two or three
toothbrushes available, and allow your child to choose which
toothbrush they want to use when it’s time to brush their teeth.
Other kid-friendly products to consider include plastic cups
for rinsing, different colors of floss, and a variety of
toothpaste flavors. Let your child put the toothpaste on the
brush (emphasizing that the toothpaste should be the size of a
pea), and then have your child choose who starts brushing his/
her teeth first if you’re taking turns.
I would love it if my children could brush their teeth on their
own...but they can't. They’re not able to reach those tight
spaces where plaque has their parties, and kids don't take the
time necessary to properly brush their teeth.
One way that works well for my kids is if I brush their teeth
for fifteen seconds, and then they have a turn. After taking
turns brushing a couple of times, we take turns flossing their
teeth. This helps train them in the proper ways to take care of
their teeth for years to come!
Kelly Wilson is a mom, freelance writer, and expert in frugal living who visits her General Dentist in La Center, Washington twice a year and consequently has excellent teeth.