Get creative and fun with your child’s dental health education
Good dental care means a beautiful smile and a healthy mouth. While on the other side of that coin neglecting your child’s oral health can lead to embarrassing and painful tooth decay, discolored teeth and gum disease later on in life that will need to be treated with dental procedures and oral pain medication that you can buy inexpensively in any pharmacy.
Even though your toddler might not care about brushing their teeth right now, later on in life they will regret not taking better care of their dental health if they have bad teeth in their self-conscious teenage years. But how can you teach an unruly toddler the importance of dental health now—so they will thank you for teaching them the proper steps to maintaining a nice white smile in their teens.
Teeth-brushing for toddlers can be as effortless as a smile. What you don’t want to do is create fear around dental hygiene, for instance if your toddler has bad memories of teething pain they may hesitate to let you put your fingers in their mouths. However, the trick is to get creative and fun with your dental health lessons, for example:
1. Brush your toddler’s teeth for them
It is your responsibility as parent to teach your child the importance of good dental hygiene so brush their teeth for them using the correct brushing strokes. You can also use cartoon dental printouts from your dentist or online to show them what areas of the mouth you are cleaning.
2. Brush your teeth to a song
Children, especially in the toddler years, are drawn to any learning that incorporates rhythm and rhyme—just look at their favorite songs and storybooks. So you can tell them that it’s important to brush their chompers in order to clean away the little bugs that live on their teeth and eat away at their mouths…or you can teach them more effectively through song, like so:
“There are bugs on our teeth moving in.
They eat our teeth from our gums to our chins.
But we’ll brush up and down, and round and round,
And we’ll spit them out and rinse so they’ll never be found.”
As you can see, it’s easy to create a catchy little tooth brushing song that incorporates the techniques of proper brushing, like:
• Proper tooth brushing motions—up and down, round and round
• Spitting out, not swallowing toothpaste
• As well as the importance of a good mouth rinse after brushing
3. Make dental health a huge deal
For instance, after you’ve shown your daughter or son the proper way to brush their teeth (up and down and round and round, spit and rinse) give them the toothbrush and let them try it on their own. Ask them to, “Show mommy how well you can brush your teeth by yourself?” This is important as most toddlers are developing independence and they feel great pride and satisfaction when doing things for themselves. Afterwards, make a big deal out of their efforts with other family members (e.g., dads, grandparents and siblings) and celebrate their accomplishment with laughter, clapping and excited cheers.
4. Make teeth brushing into a game
Creating excitement and even a bit of competition around a hygienic routine like teeth brushing will make it into a task your toddler looks forward to. For instance, brush your teeth at the same time and make a competition out of who can brush longer or get their teeth cleaner.
Post by: Bernice Spradlin is an avid hiker and runner. She works at a gym in Brooklyn, New York, where she gets great inspiration for her freelance health-related articles and blogs. In her off time, you can often find Bernice jogging the East River path along the waterfront and enjoying the cool breeze. She can be contacted at BerniceG.Spradlin@gmail.com