We recently debuted a new series within the Smiles are Wild Show called PDAO Parenting Playbook. With Mother’s Day right around the corner, we filled our first episode with helpful tips for moms.
You should be brushing your children’s teeth from the time they first appear. When your child’s teeth begin to come in, you’ll want to start by wiping them off after feeding, later graduating to fully brushing their teeth. As they grow into their toddler years, many kids become more defiant about brushing their teeth, but we’ve found some helpful tricks to keep them brushing!
Games are almost always practical ways to get your child excited about doing something they don’t want to do. Try turning the activity of brushing their teeth into a counting game or competition. How many times a week can they brush their teeth? We know a lot of parents that use reward charts for this! There are plenty of free resources from Crest and Colgate to help you here.
Many electric toothbrushes have companion apps to keep the activity engaging. Crest Oral-B has a Disney timer app that keeps your child engaged and entertained while they brush!
We also believe that the most important way to encourage your child to brush their teeth is to model it for them. When our kids are young, they want to grow up to be just like us, and when they see you brushing your teeth, they will want to follow in your footsteps!
Dentists always get a bad rap for not wanting kids to enjoy candy and other delicious snacks, but this simply isn’t true. We are all about letting your kids have the snacks they enjoy, but we emphasize that moderation is key. Sugary snacks don’t have to be bad for your child’s smile, so long as they don’t have too many and brush their teeth afterward.
Snacks like apples and hard cheeses are great for your kids, as they actually clean your child’s teeth as they eat them. Pretzels and other non-sugary treats are also excellent choices. When you do choose to give your kids sugary snacks, fruit snacks, gummy vitamins, or other sticky treats, you must brush their teeth soon after eating. Dark chocolate is an excellent alternative if you can’t brush their teeth within a reasonable amount of time after eating.
Drinking water throughout the day is vital to the health of your child’s smile. Regularly drinking water will not only keep them hydrated, but it will clean their mouth! We recommend sticking to water throughout the day and saving milk, juice, and soda for mealtimes. While milk and juice can be good for your child’s health, they leave behind sugars in your child’s mouth and teeth that bacteria feed on. Because of this, it is beneficial to brush their teeth after drinking these beverages.
If you are looking for flavored alternatives for children that resist water, we recommend trying out Hint Water. This is a fruit-infused flavored water with no sugar or sweeteners, and you can get it in juice boxes for your kids! They do make a caffeinated water, so be aware of that when you pick some up for your children.
There are plenty of things you can do to keep your child’s smile healthy, but nothing is as effective as regularly brushing and flossing!