February is both a busy and short month, filled with plenty of holidays, like Valentine’s Day and now President’s Day. But did you know that February is also designated as National Children’s Dental Health Month? The American Dental Association and healthcare professionals have created this initiative to help educate families, particularly kids, about the many ways they can help protect their smiles. So, this is a great chance to talk with your kids about the importance of oral care, and also to visit the dentist, as a family, if any of you are overdue for a dental cleaning!
Ways to Get Kids Excited About Dental Care
Helping your kids understand the importance of dental care can be extremely beneficial. After all, they will need to spend a lifetime caring for their teeth and gums, if they hope to enjoy healthy and beautiful smiles for years to come.
It’s also possible to help get them more excited, or at least dedicated, to caring for their own smiles. For example:
- Take them to the store to pick their own toothpaste and toothbrushes. Simple acts like this can help kids feel empowered, when it comes to their own oral care.
- Choose a fun timer, borrow one from a game you own, or find a song that is two minutes long, to play for your kids when it’s time to brush their teeth. This lets them know how long to brush, but can also make the act of brushing more fun.
- Use a chore chart to reward good dental behavior, like brushing and flossing. (Just make sure their reward is smile-friendly, in other words something other than a sugary treat!)
- Speak positively about visiting the dentist, and make sure they attend regular cleanings. These are actually the best way to avoid painful dental problems like cavities and tooth infections. It can also help kids create positive memories about seeing the dentist, particularly if you find a family-friendly dentist.
- Take advantage of the many resources the ADA provides, which help educate kids about oral care. This month, in particular, there are great coloring sheets available that teach kids about the importance of drinking water, specifically tap water, which is great for young smiles!