Posted on: 10 February 2015
Every year in February, the American Dental Association sponsors National Children's Dental Health Month. As parents, this is a terrific time to foster good dental hygiene in kids. On February 14th, Valentine's Day brings with it many opportunities for children in America to indulge. Candies and sweets have been the universal way to express love for one's valentine, and kids are bombarded with sugary goods at school and at home. Why not celebrate the month of love by showing your love and concern for your child's health and vitality? Use these nifty strategies to teach your child about dental health for the month of February and beyond.
Be a Role Model
There's no better way to teach your kids healthy dental hygiene for life than by modeling positive behaviors. Pediatric dentists recommend daily brushing and flossing, but if your child is too young to brush or floss, they will require assistance from you. The family should enjoy a diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, once your child reaches the age of 6 months, he or she should regularly visit the children's dentist every 6 months.
Participate in Educational Activities
Doing fun learning activities with your children can be an effective way to teach them proper dental care. Kids don't immediately understand the importance of caring for their teeth. Activities can provide a demonstration. For example, ask your children which letters (such as the "t" sound) require the teeth, tongue, and lips to correctly pronounce. Examples like this reflect how necessary teeth are for speech.
Some children are frightened of visiting the dentist and flossing their teeth because they are afraid it will hurt. Parents can read books that offer an engaging way kids can learn what to expect at the dentist such as ABC Dentist: Healthy Teeth from A to Z by Harriet Ziefert.
Relax (a little!)
Honestly, it may be difficult to get your kids through the sweetest holiday without them eating anything sugary. Remember, if your kids aren't eating cookies, cakes, and candies all the time, a small indulgence won't hurt. Simply ensure that they are only enjoying sweets in small amounts and that they brush well afterwards.
You could also brainstorm healthier ways to enjoy Valentine's Day while still showing love for your kids' teeth. Prepare a selection of fresh fruit to satisfy the inevitable sweet tooth. Give them dark chocolate, which has less sugar and melts away without sticking to teeth's enamel. Or, you could bake up some goodies at home using recipes with reduced sugar. Whatever you decide, don't let National Children's Dental Health Month pass you by without prepping your kids with healthy behaviors for a lifetime of healthy teeth.Share