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Physical Wellness

Give Kids a Smile Day: How to Take Care of Your Child’s Teeth

Healthy adult teeth start with healthy kid teeth. As parents, you know the importance of oral health care. Passing on your good dental habits to your children is essential for your child’s overall health. Healthy teeth help children to eat better and prevent mouth infections, gum problems, disease, and various teeth problems. With the Give Kids a Smile day fast approaching, what better time to find out the best ways to keep your child’s teeth healthy than today?

About Give Kids a Smile Day

In 2003, Give Kids a Smile became a nationwide program. It was a way to provide dental services to children in the United States who cannot afford it. Every year, about 6,500 dentists and 30,000 dental service team volunteers give free dental care to over 300,000 children. This includes screenings, oral health education, and preventative and restorative treatments. To this day, over six million children have received treatment through the Give Kids a Smile program.

Giving Kids a Smile – Parkway Schools

When to Start Cleaning Your Children’s Teeth

Oral health is a serious issue. More than one in four adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay. Nearly half of adults over thirty show signs of gum disease. Good hygiene and dental care start young. By developing good dental habits from a young age, you can set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

Before your baby starts teething, you can start looking after those little choppers. Just because you can’t see any teeth doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Children will have a set of twenty milk or baby teeth by the time they are three. When kids turn five or six, they will start to lose their baby teeth, making way for their adult teeth. 

With a baby, you want to use an infant toothbrush. After the age of three, you can start using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. It’s important to supervise kids up until about eight when brushing their teeth. This is because they are more likely to swallow toothpaste. 

7 Tips for Your Child’s Teeth Care and Oral Hygiene 

If you don’t take care of your child’s teeth, they could experience cavities and unhealthy gums. This can make their mouth sore and impact their smile. Taking care of children’s teeth early on in life is essential to their overall health. Here are seven tips to help you take care of your child’s oral hygiene.

1. Let Your Child Make Dental Decisions

Brushing your teeth twice a day can get a little boring. Find a way to get your kids excited about brushing their teeth. Let your child choose their own toothbrush. Maybe something with their favorite cartoon character or color.

Cute toddler boy brushing his teeth in the bathroom. How to give a kids smile day?
Let Your Child Make More Decisions To Make Them Fell More Involved In The Process. (Image Source: Shutterstock)

When you let your child make more decisions, they can feel involved in the entire process. The same applies to the toothpaste. Give your child a choice and let them choose their favorite color or flavor.

2. Educate About Dental Hygiene

Good dental hygiene habits start with a foundation of knowledge. Watch videos and read books about dental health and oral care. Teach kids how to spit toothpaste, and once old enough, show them how to floss and rinse with mouthwash. YouTube is a great source with plenty of free educational videos to watch with your kids.

How To Teach Your Child To Brush His Teeth (American Dental Association (ADA)

3. Stick to Two Minutes Brushing Time

It’s recommended you brush twice a day for two minutes, if possible. Try to make brushing fun by playing your child’s favorite music for two minutes to keep track of time. Turn brushing into a game and set a timer to make sure you hit those two minutes. 

4. Reward Your Child

Take dental health from boring to fun with a reward system. Protecting your child’s teeth from problems and decay is essential. But sometimes, it’s easier said than done. It can be a struggle to get your child to clean their teeth on their own.

Figure out a reward system that works for your child. Try to use something healthy, not a sugary food or drink. Some kids love a big reward chart with bright stickers. When your child has enough stickers, they get a reward like a new toy or a trip to their favorite attraction.

5. Make Dentist Day Fun

Try to make dentist day as exciting as possible. On the day, plan something enjoyable to do with your children after the visit to the dentist. This gives them a fun reason to go to a check-up. In the long term, you want to make sure your kids feel good about going to the dentist and associate it with something positive.

Happy kid on dental chair after repairing tooth
Make Sure Your Kids Feel Good About Going to the Dentist and Associate it with Something Positive (Image Source: Shutterstock)

6. Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

To help jumpstart a lifetime of healthy habits to protect your kid’s teeth, try to avoid sugary foods and drinks. Sugary food and drinks are one of the leading causes of tooth decay. Cutting out sugary drinks and reducing sugary snacks can help decrease the chances of developing cavities. 

7. Use Fluoride Toothpaste

Brush your child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children aged three to six should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps protect teeth, strengthen tooth enamel, and reduce the risk of cavities.

When it comes to children’s teeth, fluoride tends to be the best option. If you’re wondering whether activated charcoal is safe, the answer is no. Dentists warn against activated charcoal as it can be abrasive on the teeth and strip your enamel. It’s a good idea to stick with fluoride toothpaste for children and adults.

Child puts toothpaste on the toothbrush.
Brush Your Child’s Teeth With Fluoride Twice a Day (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Keeping Your Kid’s Teeth Healthy

Your kid’s healthy teeth start with you. By making the brushing experience fun and developing good dental habits, your child can have the best beginning to proper oral hygiene and care. Although it can be tough to make brushing your teeth fun, small modifications can make it more exciting. Whether it’s choosing a cartoon toothbrush or creating a reward system for good brushing, you can make it fun. Teach by example and make brushing a family ritual that the kids will look forward to and enjoy.

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