February is chock full of awareness celebrations and holidays. Groundhog Day kicks off the month, followed by Valentine’s Day and President’s Day. We also have Black History Month, Heart Health Month, and Women’s History Month. Most important to our team, perhaps, is National Children’s Dental Health Month. In celebration of children’s oral health, it only seems natural for our Waukesha dentist to discuss the importance of oral health and children.
Babies and Toddlers
Early care for teeth begins at birth. Soft, dental wipes or a clean washcloth can be gently rubbed on baby’s gums to clean away bacteria and to ease gum pressure as teeth begin to come in. As they become toddlers, a soft-bristled brush can be introduced to clean those cute teeth.
Let your toddler hold the toothbrush. You’re developing fine motor skills that your child needs. Young children love their independence and with a little guidance can help brush their teeth. Once the child has had their turn, tell them it’s your turn so to ensure their teeth are properly brushed.
Make Brushing and Flossing Enjoyable
Children have a mind of their own when it comes to brushing and flossing. Some will take to it eagerly. Others may need a little encouragement. Our Waukesha dentist and staff have a few suggestions that may help:
Learn a song: Just like learning their ABC’s, a song about brushing will make it seem like fun rather than learning. Pull up a video from the Internet that engages their interest. Most songs are about 2 minutes in length; the recommended time one should spend brushing their teeth.
Read a book: Visit your local library for an age-appropriate book about brushing and flossing. Twenty minutes of reading a day is just as important as brushing for 2 minutes and flossing. Read the book before your oral routine begins and, with any luck, your child will want to act out the book.
Copycat: Kids love games. Play the copycat game and have your child copy your actions. Children adore mimicking adults and enjoy taking part in any type of entertainment. The other benefit is that they will begin to see how you brush and floss and gain a better understanding in valuing their oral health.
School Aged Children and Older
As your child gets older, they will take control of their own brushing and flossing. Yet, it is still important to check their progress. Similar to checking homework, make sure they have brushed all their teeth. Be their in-home dentist and provide a follow-up check to their work. Older children may simply need a reminder. If you’ve done your work to incorporate brushing and flossing into your morning and nighttime routine, this should come naturally.
What has worked for you? We’d love to hear about ways in which you’ve made brushing and flossing fun on our Facebook page. National Children’s Dental Health month is a great time to start promoting oral care with your young ones and to act as a reminder to follow up your daily brushing and flossing with regular visits to our Waukesha dentist. We look forward to celebrating with you.
In need of immediate care?
We offer emergency phone consultations to our existing patients. Call us anytime at (262) 548-3555.