Most children aren’t too concerned about their oral health — until they experience their first cavity. While taking kids to the dentist to get fillings is the right course of action, new research indicates that the best way to manage tooth decay is not by using fillings, but by preventing decay from occurring in the first place. To do this, children should be encouraged to practice healthy habits in order to keep their teeth and gums in tiptop shape. If getting your child to brush takes constant nagging or if getting your little one to visit the dentist results in a meltdown, take heart. Here are some smart hacks to get your child to look after their teeth, minus the tears and fuss.
Serve tooth-friendly snacks
It’s widely known that sweets can cause tooth decay, but did you know that certain foods can help prevent cavities and can keep teeth strong and healthy? If your child wants a snack, serve sliced carrots or celery dipped in plain yogurt, or apple and cheese slices. The fiber in these fruits and veggies can keep teeth and gums clean, while calcium found in milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products can rebuild and strengthen tooth enamel. Encourage your child to choose these snacks by making them readily available — cut up some fruits and vegetables and store them in airtight containers in the fridge. You can also buy single serve pots of yogurt and string cheese so your child can help themselves if they’re feeling a bit peckish.
Help your child overcome dental anxiety
Fear of the dentist is highly common, and it affects about 24 percent of people all over the world. However, going for a dental checkup is a must to keep your mouth healthy. For children, a routine checkup usually involves tooth cleaning and application of fluoride varnish to strengthen the teeth. Meanwhile, adults are highly advised to visit the dentist if they want to improve their smile with fillings, bridges, dentures or dental implants, as well as keeping up with routine checkups.
It’s natural for children to feel anxious at the thought of a dental checkup, but there are ways to make a visit to the dentist less scary. First, ensure that your child has had enough rest and has eaten well before the checkup. Days before the checkup, talk about what your child can expect during the visit. You can also watch videos or read books together about it. While you’re in the waiting room, let your child listen to music or watch a video using headphones so they’re not frightened by the sounds coming out of the dentist’s office. After the checkup, praise your child and prepare a small gift, like a toy or a pack of stickers as a reward.
Make brushing a fun activity
To encourage your child to brush, make it a fun activity. Music can make anything fun, so get a musical or singing toothbrush for your little one. Clean and Play has a toothbrush that plays music for 120 seconds, which is the recommended time for teeth brushing. Meanwhile, the Possi, which is Sony’s first smart musical toothbrush, enables children to hear music once the brush is in contact with their teeth. You can change the music by using an app, so your kid can brush along to “Baby Shark,” Billie Eilish, BTS, or whatever their favorite song is at the moment.
Try these hacks to make oral care more fun for your little one, and less stressful for you. Encouraging your child to care for their teeth while they’re still young will benefit them, as it will help them maintain a beautiful smile throughout their lifetime.