Teaching your kids early to look after their teeth can ensure that they have a full set of pearly whites long into adulthood. Here are a few bright ideas to encourage your kids to keep up a good dental regime and eat the right foods.
Buy kid friendly toothpaste Kids’ toothpastes pack a fruity taste that may encourage children to brush their teeth more. Just make sure that you buy a toothpaste that still has a high enough fluoride content – otherwise it will taste nice but won’t be having any positive effects.
Let them choose their own toothbrush Allowing your child to choose their own brush will make them more eager to use it. Take them to the store with you and let them choose their favourite.
Download brushing apps There are now tooth brushing apps that can time your children as they brush as well as playing music and incorporating games. This is certain to make brushing more fun.
Lead by example At first, your kids may be more inspired to brush their teeth if mummy is doing it to. Brush with them and show them how it’s done.
Give teddy a toothbrush Why not buy a cheap toothbrush for their favourite toy too to make brushing that extra bit more fun? Obviously, teddy doesn’t need to use toothpaste!
Give them rewards for brushing well Allow them to stay up ten minutes later for brushing well or reward them by reading a bedtime story – this will encourage them to brush their teeth thoroughly. No sugary rewards, of course
Try an electric toothbrush Your kids may find an electric toothbrush more fun than a regular one. Look for special kids’ electric toothbrushes in the shops. As with a regular toothbrush, get them to choose the one they want (providing it’s not too expensive!).
Let them know why they’re brushing Young kids may not know why they need to brush. Tell them about plaque and the effect it can have if they don’t brush well.
Find a family friendly dentist A regular visit to the dentist can ensure no plaque is being missed. Look for family friendly dentists – some may even offer discounts for children and parents.
Consider an orthodontist If your child has wonky or bucked teeth, it could be worth taking a trip to the orthodontist to fit braces. Braces can only be put in once all of a child’s adult teeth have come through. Many parents will generally wait until their kids reach their teenage years,
Consider fluoride tablets Your water system may already contain fluoride. However, in some areas this may not be the case. In such a case, you may wish to supplement your child’s fluoride intake with fluoride tablets. You can get these at most local pharmacies.
Take sippy cups away after ten minutes If your toddler has just started using a sippy cup, be careful of letting them carry it around and constantly sip it. Constant sipping could develop a constant craving for sugar. Give them it for ten minutes and then take it away.
Buy sugar-free kids drinks Try buying drinks that are low-sugar or sugar free and less likely to damage your children’s teeth. This doesn’t just include soda drinks – many non-fizzy juices are also full of sugar.
Put healthy drinks in fun cups Encourage kids to drink water, milk and fresh juice by putting it in a fun cup such as one with a twirly straw.
Encourage crunchy fruit and vegetables Apples and sliced raw carrots are nutrient-filled foods full of healthy sugars that clean your teeth as you eat them due to their crunchy nature. If your kid doesn’t like carrot sticks, try offering some dips for them to dunk them in.
Cook at home more Ready-made meals, takeaways and restaurant foods may be full of hidden sugar. By cooking at home, you can prepare healthy foods and monitor your kids’ sugar intake.
Make sugary snacks a treat Don’t give sweets to your kids as a way of keeping them quiet. Instead, offer them as treats for good behaviour. Of course, that doesn’t mean that if they’re good for a whole day, you should keep giving them sweets – be sparing with them. You could try introducing an allocated ‘sweet time’ every day in the evening.