It seems like so many dental tips for children require purchasing some new toothbrush or sticker chart. For those looking to save money, or keep from going out unnecessarily in a pandemic, here are a couple tips you can start using right away.
Drink Water After Eating
When we think of dental hygiene, we don’t often include water in the routine. But having a drink shortly after meals and snacks can help wash away some of the more harmful aspects of the foods and drinks children are consuming. Bits of food that might have stuck to teeth are washed away, preventing plaque buildup. And it makes the next brush much more effective.
Limit the Child’s Soda Intake
Many parents already limit the amount of soda their child drinks due to the caffeine and sugar. But just like a caffeinated child isn’t fun for parents, the acid in soda isn’t great for the child’s teeth. If left on the teeth for a long period of time, that acid can begin to erode enamel and cause decays. Often this goes unnoticed. There are also added food dyes that can stain the enamel. Just one more reason to keep sugary, caffeinated beverages to a minimum.
Make Brushing Part of the Routine
It’s easy to forget to brush your teeth. Most adults struggle to remember that part of their daily hygiene, and it’s even harder for kids. To make sure everyone remembers to maintain their oral health, make teeth brushing a standard part of the child’s routine. If the child is old enough, you can give them two specific times of day for brushing: once in the morning and once in the evening. If the child is younger, you can give them a more colloquial form of timeline. For example, brushing their teeth just after breakfast in the morning or right before the bedtime story. Setting brushing times around a specific time or activity will make remembering that much easier.
Give Simple Rewards
You don’t have to go buy sticker charts or toys to reward your children for practicing good dental hygiene. The rewards can be as simple as verbal praise. Some children may need extra incentives that can be done using items you already have at home. For example, extra time on an electronic device. Parents can also withhold objects or rewards until the child has brushed their teeth. For example, telling the child they can have a specific toy back only after they’ve brushed their teeth. Your child may get annoyed, but their teeth will thank you.