Did You Know February Is National Children’s Dental Health Month (#NCDHM)?
For parents this is a perfect time to encourage young children to engage in toothbrushing, flossing, and visiting a dentist on a regular basis. Sadly, though, kids are not always so excited to spend time brushing their teeth or dealing with messy dental floss – let alone going to a scary dentist’s office!
Our kid-friendly, welcoming team at Grove Dental helps you to change all of that. Below, we give you some easy ways to make dental health fun for your kids.
Happy National Children’s Dental Health Month!
1. Remember What It’s Like to Be A Kid
Of course you know how important it is to take care of your smile. But, your kids might not! Children often don’t think in the same ways that grown-ups do. Plus, going to new and unknown places like the dentist’s office can be scary to children. So, be sure to speak to your little ones about dental check-ups in ways that they understand.
Use simple, fun words that they associate with good things in their ordinary surroundings. Use words that they already know – not words that they should know. Big words that children don’t understand are enough to make any kid uncomfortable. Also, never use words that mean “painful” or “difficult.” Our team doesn’t even say such things to adults – let alone kids! Do just the opposite: use words like “quick,” “tickle,” and “silly.” These kinds of words will make your children feel more comfortable with a dental check-up because you have put it in language that is already comfortable to them. To learn more: see our blog post about identifying with children.
Teach your kids the correct way to brush their teeth.
2. Teach Them the Right Way the First Time
It is of the highest importance that you teach your kids how to properly take care of their smiles. This includes brushing your teeth, flossing, and a healthy diet. Show your children how to brush their teeth and how to use dental floss in the ways that dentists recommend (guides from the American Dental Association and MouthHealthy). Even though they will eventually hear it from a dentist, your kids are much more likely to listen to their loving parents.
You will also prevent some confusion by starting your kids’ healthy dental hygiene habits, the right way. If you teach them before the first check-up, they will know what to expect when they actually see the dentist. Overall, getting an early and correct start on dental health helps your kids to understand how important it is to consistently visit the dentist’s office. This also helps to prevent complications for when kids lose baby teeth!
Sugary foods must be eaten in moderation
3. Discourage Harmful Dental Hygiene Habits
Stop unhealthy practices before they become habits. These may range from thumb-sucking to a sugar-rich diet. While using a pacifier or eating delicious candy is not harmful if it is done in moderation, constant performance of these behaviors may negatively impact your children’s dental health.
Don’t worry! Thumb-sucking or using a pacifier is quite common among children. However, it can lead to a plethora of dental issues. So, make it beneficial for your kids to stop performing these behaviors on a regular basis. Reward them when they don’t need a pacifier or keep their thumbs out of their mouths. Praise always works!
In the case of a sugar-rich diet, even adults sometimes find it hard to stop eating sweets! But, make sure that your children eat a balanced diet that includes more than sugary foods and drinks. Offer your kids a fun activity to clearly teach them what not to drink or eat (activity from the American Dental Association).
Fruits and vegetables are the best choices for children’s dental health .
4. Encourage Healthy Dental Hygiene Habits
Besides getting rid of the bad, replace it with the good! Make toothbrushing and flossing regular activities that will soon become hard-to-drop habits. Give your kids an active role with a fun calendar that keeps track of their toothbrushing (activity from the American Dental Association).
Secondly, teach your children to eat the food and drink the beverages that protect their dental health. The most important step to teaching your kids about a healthy diet is to be a role model! Incorporate some coloring sheets and engaging stories that help them learn (activities from the American Dental Association). These activities and lessons will make it easy for your children to identify the food and drinks that they should choose.
Lastly, make sure to take your kids to regular dental check-ups! Unless they are seen by a dentist, your children’s dental health cannot be secured.
NCDHM Comes but Once a Year!
In what remains of February, spend extra time with your kids to teach them all about their dental health and to form long-lasting dental hygiene habits. Make it fun for them to take care of their smiles and always schedule dental check-ups for your children. Get an early start on protecting their dental health and prevent common pediatric dental emergencies. If such emergencies occur, call us right away!