Easter has come and gone, and the kids are working their way through the baskets fairly quickly. I don’t mind watching them enjoy their sweets once in a while, but I do mind paying big dental bills, so they need to focus on proper oral care.
Poor oral care can result in physical, mental and social problems. Missing or rotting teeth can cause infections, speech impairments and can cause people to be rejected socially. Encouraging children to take care of their teeth can be a bit of a challenge, but I have found some ways to make it a little easier.
- Start good dental habits early. Newborns gums need to be gently wiped with a clean washcloth or infant gum brush, and it teaches them about caring for their mouths from day one.
- Set a good example for the kids. Show your children that you care about your own teeth and demonstrate how to brush properly.
- Let your child choose fun, soft bristled toothbrush in his or her favourite colour, character, or one that plays music. An electric or power toothbrush is very beneficial for ensuring their teeth are getting cleaned properly.
- Assign each child his or her own toothpaste based on their preferred flavours. Be sure to label it if more than one child chooses the same kind.
- Keep floss picks in every washroom. There is no excuse for not flossing if the floss picks are readily available everywhere. They are easy to use, and it doesn’t take long to floss.
- Put dental care on the chore chart. If your child regularly forgets, add it to their chore chart or make a reminder sign. At one point we had a big “Brush your teeth” sign where my son would see it every morning. It worked!
- Use a timer or a song to ensure they are brushing for at least 2 minutes each time they brush.
- Provide family members with a fluoride mouthwash and teach them to rinse after brushing.
- Pick up some plaque tablets and get the kids to try them out so they can see for themselves just how much plaque they are leaving behind on their teeth.
- Most dental diseases are easier to treat if detected early, so regular dental visits are essential. Dentists can also detect overall health issues at these visits.
Celebrate Oral Health Month by picking up some new dental supplies and celebrating everyone’s oral care success! It can also act as a reminder to make a dental appointment. If you don’t have a dentist, you can find one here: http://bit.ly/OntDA10.
Although this post has been generously sponsored by The Ontario Dental Association, the opinions and language are my own.