My 3 year old likes to be independent. And she likes to be the one to brush her teeth, not me. Because heaven forbid I fail to be gentle enough. But sometimes I am worried that she isn’t getting all the plaque or truly washing the gross from the day away. Therefore, getting out of the bathroom to teeth it is a powerful tool. In fact implementing ways to play and other activities to encourage dental health in kids is sometimes the best way to teach them actual healthy dental hygiene.
Before you play, talk to your kids and start the oral health discussion
The two most important ways we encourage our kids to have pearly whites are by making it a game and making sure our kids are insured and seeing a dentist.
So while really trying to make sure my kids’ teeth are cared for, I explored Guardian Dental. I even did it with my prechooler there. She asked about what I was doing and I was able to let her know there was more to protecting her precious teeth than just brushing daily.
Because she’s a girl with a sense of humor I told her “We don’t want your teeth to fall out of your head!”
She giggled and replied with “oh, but they won’t mom!”
We were able to chat about plaque, bacteria, and bad breath and how all of it can can build up in her mouth can lead to decay, cavities, and eventually tooth loss!
So we needed to get her in for a cleaning!
And while she’s still young, it was the opportunity to explain to her what insurance is. That we pay money to be protected. And there is special protection for our teeth and utilizing it can help keep our whole family healthy.
Fun ways to make teeth brushing fun outside the bathroom
Brush with Activated Charcoal. This helps show both you and your child how well they’re brushing. But it’s full of gross, eeewwwy, yucky black teeth and they will think it’s so much fun!
Take time to make your daily reading time for a week or more all about teeth with great kids’ books to teach about teeth. In 3 short days my daughter had already memorized 4 of the books I bought and was trying to teach her sister about teeth in general.
Use LEGO to teach flossing. Isn’t flossing the bane of your existence as a parent? It’s not fun to teach and it’s a hassle. But since so many kids love playing with legos this is a really simple, but effective, way to help them understand both how to do it and the importance of cleaning between their baby teeth.
Using egg cartons to learn about brushing. I know, you’re thinking “Of course! Cartons look like teeth. Duh!” So utilize the ones you’re using to give them new life. In fact, Make your own giant mouth model out of them for some silly fun.
You can always make Toothbrush Art with your child by letting them paint with an old toothbrush. It helps them understand the concept of “ceoverage” and spreading toothpaste on their teeth.
You can even incorporate some of the learning and teaching you’re already doing with your kids. For instance as they learn their letters, you can use this Alphabet learning through teeth brushing (and a song!) to help kill two bords with one stone.
Set up a Tooth Brush Reward Chart! While it’s not completely out of the bathroom, the logictics of establishing a rewards and discussing the reward are!
In our home, we talk about what is food and what is a treat. And that idea can be extended to this idea where kids learn about how different types of good food and bad food can make happy teeth or sad teeth.
Finally, since we live in an age of techonology, start downloading som Apps to make teethbrushing fun on your phone or tablet. Because when all else fails, use some distractions. Am I right?
What fun ways do you encourage dental health in kids?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!