Do you remember your first trip to the dentist? I do, and it wasn’t pretty. I was six years old and terrified…so terrified, that after I got shots to numb my mouth, I kicked my dentist, ran out of the office and locked myself in my parents’ car. Yes, I really did that. A child’s fear on their first dental visit can be pretty crazy, and it’s an adults’ job to make their visit as pleasant as possible, through awareness of dental health. February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and it’s all about teaching children about their teeth. The first step is encouraging them to brush their teeth, to prevent problems in the first place. Here are some ways to make brushing fun.
Fun Child-sized Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
Tooth brushing can be a chore that young children just don’t want to bother with. But, fun toothbrushes can turn it into play time. Cartoon character toothbrushes and toothpaste are a great way to entice children to stop and take care of their teeth. For example, Colgate’s Children’s toothpaste comes in child-friendly flavors, like bubble gum and fruity flavors, and when squirted on a cool toothbrush sporting their favorite character, brushing becomes a treat.
Let Children Play with a Toothbrush
Imagine you are two years old, and your parent sticks a bristly, plastic stick in your mouth without warning. You’d be kind of freaked out, wouldn’t you? Well, just like any new things children are introduced to, they need to get used to using tooth brushes, and play is the best way for them to do it. Give your child a brush to play with that won’t be used in their mouth. Show him or her how to brush a doll’s teeth, or just carry it around for a while. Just by allowing them to wrap their hands around it in a non-threatening way helps take away the fear of the unknown.
Sing Tooth brushing Songs
Young children learn from music. The alphabet song is a perfect example. Who can’t sing that in their sleep? Well, singing works to teach children about tooth brushing, too. Watch this video of Elmo’s Tooth Brushing Song with your child, sing it when you’re riding in the car, and sing it while they brush their teeth.
Teaching young children that tooth brushing can be a positive experience is the first step to fostering good dental health. By keeping teeth clean, chances of cavities go way down, and their trips to the dentist will be much more positive than mine, and maybe yours, were. So, take this National Children’s Dental Health Month to make a conscious effort to begin a lifetime of good oral health for your child.More