For some kids, brushing and flossing is like a chore that they do once in the morning and once at night. However, it doesn’t have to be this way! Making oral hygiene fun can have lasting effects and can even make kids take an interest in keeping their mouths clean and healthy.
There’s an App For That
It’s recommended that a child brushes his or her teeth for two minutes. A fun way to make sure they get the full two minutes in is to use a brushing app that plays a song for two minutes and have your child brush as long as the music is playing. Pick something they like and will make them want to stay there the entire time. A smile on their face while brushing will make the time pass faster. Also, if the song is something they really enjoy they might even look forward to the next time they get to brush.
Visits from the Tooth Fairy
Every child is different when it comes to losing teeth. Some kids love the idea of losing teeth because that means they are growing up! Others don’t like losing teeth because eating can become uncomfortable until the tooth falls out. A good way to make this fun is by using the story of the tooth fairy. Tell your child a new tooth will grow back soon but the tooth fairy will come and give some money in exchange for the tooth that has come out. This is a great opportunity to talk about brushing and flossing. Explain that the tooth fairy loves to see teeth in good shape so she knows that the child is doing a good job brushing and flossing. I have had some parents say the tooth fairy does not bring money for teeth with cavities that come out!
Prize Winning Teeth
A kids’ dentist can show children what can happen to their teeth if they don’t brush. Some dentists even give prizes for good oral hygiene or a good visit. If your child’s dentist doesn’t give out toys, perhaps you could find a small way to reward them for their good oral report. A reward system, such as a brushing and flossing chart with stickers, is a great way for children to get motivated. Then on the chart, have a spot for the six month check-ups that has a special sticker or reward to be given for a good visit. Oral hygiene doesn’t have to be a difficult task every day. Just by making brushing and flossing into something fun, you could see an improvement in the oral health.
With school in session, it is time to start packing lunches for the kids again. It can be easy to pack processed lunches or have children buy lunch at school rather than taking the time to prepare something healthy. But packing a healthy lunch can be critical to children’s oral health. Find out what foods to include in children’s school lunches to make sure their teeth stay strong.
Most lunches will typically include a sandwich. To make it healthier, use whole grain wheat bread instead of white bread. If you’re making them a turkey or ham sandwich, consider adding a piece of cheese. Cheese is a great source of calcium and a certain type of protein called casein. You can spice things up further by adding vegetables such as tomatoes and lettuce if your child likes.
If your child isn’t a fan of sandwiches or just wants to mix things up, hummus offers a healthy alternative.
Yogurt and Milk
If your child does not like the food you pack, there is a chance he or she might not eat all of it or simply throw it away. A healthy snack your kids are sure to enjoy is a nice cup of yogurt. Yogurt is packed with nutrients and oftentimes fruit, making it a great choice. Plus, it’s easy to eat. Make sure to read the labels so you don’t buy yogurt filled with sugar!
Milk is always great for the teeth, but if your child is getting bored with traditional milk, try chocolate or strawberry milk. They will still get the added calcium and the added flavor will make it fun to drink. When you’re buying milk, skip the whole milk varieties in favor of 1 percent or even skim if your children will drink it.
For a side item, it’s easy to pack some chips since it’s already packed neatly. Eating a bag of chips every day, even the snack-size version, isn’t good for your child’s teeth. Instead, try vegetables such as carrots or celery. See what your child likes to dip with them in. A small amount of ranch can go a long way in making veggies more appetizing for kids.
Packing a lunch can be fun for the parents and the children. Getting your child involved in the process can be a valuable experience. Talk to your child to see which healthy foods he or she likes or is willing to try. That way you know you’re packing a healthy lunch that they will enjoy all while maintaining their oral health.