Today, we’re going change topics from our local business reviews to get back on track to talking about dental health. February is “National Children’s Dental Health Month,” so we’re going to talk about some things we can do to encourage good oral health practices in children.
Studies show that American children miss about 51 million hours of school a year, because of oral health issues. That’s a lot of missed schooling, but that also means that’s a lot of cavities. About 50% of children have tooth decay or oral disease by the age of 5.
Children tend to suffer from more oral health problems than adults, because they eat more sugary foods, don’t have the same dental health habits, and they have smaller teeth that are easier for germs to infiltrate. A lot of people let their children’s oral health fall by the wayside, because they think that their baby teeth don’t matter. Unfortunately, the dental health of your child’s primary teeth will also affect the dental health of their adult teeth. Not to mention, getting in the habit of good oral health starts at an early age.
4 Tips to Promote Health Mouths in Children
Whether you’re a parent, teacher, babysitter, aunt and uncle, or an older sibling, there are some measures you can take to promote dental health in the children around you. Here are some ways you can help the children in your life:
- Assist their brushing. It’s easy to forget that little kids aren’t super dexterous when it comes to brushing. Especially if they’re already walking and talking. One way you can help children keep their teeth healthy is by reminding them of proper brushing techniques. Make sure that they rinse well, don’t swallow toothpaste, and brush for the whole two minutes. You can oversee their brushing, or you can brush for them once a week, and ask them to pay attention to the way you scrub. You can also take turns holding the toothbrush, until their entire mouth is clean. If your kid is under the age of six, make sure that you only use a small amount of toothpaste, to reduce the impact of swallowing toothpaste.
- Monkey see, monkey do. Make your dental health routine coincide with your kids, so they can see how you brush and floss. You can turn it into a fun activity, where you talk to them about why you’re brushing your teeth after eating something sweet. If you brush and floss together, your kids will want to mimic your behavior.If they see that you care about your dental health, they’ll also care about their own dental health. You can turn this into a fun activity by making up a dance or handshakes, anything to get them excited about brushing. It’s important that you be creative and have fun with it. If they think that brushing your teeth is a painstaking chore, then they won’t be as excited to get into it.
- Show them how cavities work. One way you can coax your child into taking better care of their oral health is by showing them what cavities do to their teeth. You can give them a visual representation of cavities by poking a deep hole in an apple. Explain to them that the apple is like their tooth. Watch as the apple starts to rot around the hole and explain to your child that this is how cavities lead to tooth decay.
- Buy fun accessories. A lot of time, kids don’t have the same perception of time as adults. One way you can make sure they’re brushing their teeth long enough is by switching them to an electric toothbrush. Try the Arm & Hammer Tooth Tunes that plays music as they brush. You can also try buying dinosaur flossers, which will make flossing seem like a fun game for them.
One of the best ways to ensure your kid stays vigilante with their dental health is by taking them to the dentist twice a year. The more they go to the dentist, the more comfortable they’ll be at their routine cleanings. Not to mention, a dental office is a great place to learn about the importance or preventing cavities and tooth decay.