In celebration of this year's National Smile Month, Delta Dental is excited to bring awareness to your child's oral health by offering our tips for tiny teeth and advice on fun ways to engage your kids in forming healthy dental habits.
For parents, it's important to engage kids in their oral health early on. From brushing to flossing and trips to the dentist, good oral health plays a key role in your child's overall well-being.
"When I was a practicing clinician, I would always emphasize to parents the importance of establishing a routine to help kids form early healthy habits," shares Dr. Richard Han, Dental Consultant at Delta Dental. "I would recommend associating brushing and flossing with something that the child already enjoys and advise parents to lead by example since children tend to pick up their oral habits."
We understand that getting your kids to properly clean their teeth can be a pain sometimes, but it doesn't have to be!
If you're having trouble getting your child to develop a positive attitude towards brushing and flossing, try some of these fun and interactive activities:
1. Turn brushing into a scavenger hunt
If you're still brushing your child's teeth, you can pretend to find various "wild animals" in his or her mouth and chase them around with a toothbrush. Give lots of descriptive details about the animal's colors or fur to make it more fun. "Oh, I see a purple polka-dotted hippopotamus in the back! Open up so I can get it!"
2. Play the "ice tray flossing" game to help develop motor skills
Young children don't have the fine motor skills necessary to properly brush and floss their teeth. With the "ice tray flossing" game you can help them develop these skills while also teaching them about the importance of flossing. It's very simple; all you need is an ice tray, play dough, and a string.
Simply, flip the ice tray over, and place the play dough in between the tray's valleys. Then, have your child use the string to scoop it out. This is a fun activity that helps build motor skills and shows your child why it is important to remove anything that may be stuck in between their teeth.
3. Make the brush a "tooth tickler"
Tell your child that the toothbrush is a "tooth tickler" and that you want to check to see which teeth might be ticklish. Anything that gets them to use their imagination will make tooth brushing seem more fun and less like a chore.
4. Switch places and let them brush your teeth
Tired of trying to pry your way in whenever it's time to brush your child's teeth? Reverse roles and let your child brush your teeth. Then you can laugh a lot and show how much fun it is to be pampered.
5. Use reward charts
Another way to have your child be more involved in tracking their daily brushing is by making a tooth cleaning calendar. Let them put stickers, gold stars or check marks after they brush their teeth each time. If they get all their marks for the month, you can reward them with a prize to celebrate the milestone.
The more fun you make oral health care, the more likely they'll stick with it! And you'll be doing your part to help ensure that your child has a good foundation for maintaining a lifetime of strong teeth and bright smiles.
Want more fun ideas for National Smile Month? Check out Delta Dental's Grin! For Kids (and share it with your kids!) to see more activities and games that will teach them about healthy habits.
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