Mentoring Month: Teaching Children About Oral Health

by Jason 1/29/2013 8:00 AM

It’s Mentoring Month, and February kicks off Children’s Oral Health Month, too. So, what better time to chat about how you can help set little ones on the right path, because good dental habits can be fun ― if taught correctly!

Common mistakes for little ones include overusing toothpaste and brushing too hard. Luckily things are pretty simple. And, when it comes to good oral hygiene, the same rules apply to children as to adults.

The rules:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Visit the dentist twice a year

Seriously, that’s it. Those are the basics that can have you and your kiddos on the right path.

There are other things you can do to help mentor little ones.

  • Supervise and help children under the age of six who may lack the coordination to effectively accomplish these tasks on their own.
  • A small, pea-size amount of toothpaste is best. Too much toothpaste is unnecessary and can create lots of foam, which makes brushing difficult.
  • When done, children should spit out toothpaste ― swallowing it can lead to fluorosis, a cosmetic condition in which spots may appear on the teeth.

The key is to get children excited to brush their teeth instead of treating it like a chore.

  • Develop a fun ritual around brushing. Sing a song about brushing teeth or  ”brush” the teeth of your child’s stuffed animals.
  • Place a stepstool near the sink counter that allows your child to see the basin.
  • Have fun choosing a cool toothbrush. Let your child pick from the great selection of colors, characters and gizmos available today.
  • Grab your own toothbrush and brush with energy. Show your children just how fun it is to brush – they’ll want in on the fun.

By playing a positive, active role, you can encourage your children to learn good habits for a lifetime of oral health. Do you have other ideas for making brushing fun? We’d love to hear them.

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