Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases among children.
At a young age, the little ones are not too conscious about their dental health. They resist toothbrushing, fear the dentist, and love sweets. These things can contribute to life-long problems, which could have been easily avoided if parents are more mindful.
In this article, we will share some of the best activities that can teach kids the importance of dental health. Start them young, and for sure, they will pick up good habits that they will be thankful for when they grow up.
5 Ways to Teach Dental Health to Your Children
Growing up cavity-free and with good oral health requires a proactive approach. Here are some of the best things to do to help instill the importance of dental health amongst children.
- Brush Your Teeth Together
Getting kids to brush their teeth is often a struggle. They will resist most of the time and would rather play. Among others, one of the best ways to minimize their resistance is to do it together. Consider it a bonding activity.
However, even if you are already brushing together, they might still be uninterested. A good solution is to let them pick their toothbrush. Choose something colorful with their favorite characters. This way, they can see it as a toy, which will encourage them to brush their teeth.
Also, you might want to play their favourite music during toothbrushing time. You can even dance if it looks like they are bored. While doing so, teach them how to do it the right way. If they learn the proper brushing techniques while they are young, they can bring it with them until they are old.
- Have Healthy Eating Habits
Promoting good dental health among children is possible by promoting healthy eating habits. Start them young so they will know how important their food choices are for their oral well-being.
For optimum oral health, a children’s diet should include calcium-rich foods. Low-fat or non-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt are some of the must-haves in their diet. Such can help in promoting strong teeth. Phosphorus and Vitamin C are also essential in their foods.
Sugar is one of the most common culprits of tooth decay in children. While there is nothing wrong with giving them sweet treats like candies and chocolates, do so in moderation. Otherwise, it can contribute to tooth decay and other problems. If you regulate their sugar intake while they are young, it is easier for them to develop healthy eating habits as they grow older.
- Visit the Dentist Regularly
From using a pacifier to eating sugary foods, many factors can contribute to oral health problems in children. It can result in abnormal teeth growth, tooth decay, gum inflammation, and bad breath, among other things. For parents who are clueless about how to address this problem, a regular visit to the dentist will help.
It is recommended that children should go to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears. This usually happens in their sixth month. They will be too young to remember their first dental visit. Nonetheless, if you do it regularly, such as once every six months, they will remember such and will become a habit that they will pick up. Growing up, they will realize how important such is to their dental health.
The challenge for parents is to overcome a child’s fear of a dental visit. Watch your words and try to be as assured as possible. Consider doing a pretend visit at home during playtime, so they will be used to it. Most importantly, choose the right dentist. Ask your friends for recommendations. If your child is at ease with the dentist, he or she may not be so scared.
- Read Books or Watch Videos
Children have a short attention span, especially if you are talking about things that do not interest them. This is one thing that many new parents will find challenging. The trick is to make conversations more engaging. Hence, when you are talking about dental health, do it in such a way that it will be fun, so you will have their undivided attention.
One thing that can help is reading children’s books that tackle oral health in the little ones. You can find colorful books with playful characters that will have them hooked. Choose one with a storyline that revolves around the importance of oral hygiene, such as toothbrushing and visiting the dentist.
Aside from books, let them watch videos that revolve around the same topics. This is a great way to maximize their screen time and use it in something meaningful. You can find tons of videos online with lively music and fun characters.
- Role Play
Another effective activity for teaching dental health to children is role-playing. Parents can assume the role of the dentist while the child is the patient. It can also be the other way around. Make the activity more immersive by buying toys that replicate dental tools. This will also help children become more familiar with what they can experience when they visit the dentist.
When role-playing, think about the different scenarios that will allow you to teach oral hygiene and dental health. For instance, pretend that your tooth is aching. Then act as if there is a session between a child and a dentist. At such point, lay down all the potential reasons why the tooth aches, and this way, your child can learn what he or she should avoid.
Be creative during role-plays. Use toys to make the experience more realistic. Incorporate music for a more engaging experience. Do not be too technical. Use words that your child can easily understand.
From brushing your teeth together to regularly visiting a dentist, consider doing the things mentioned above to promote the importance of oral health amongst children. It may not be easy, but with the right approach, you can instill life-long values that kids will be forever thankful for when they grow up.