It’s National Children’s Dental Health Month!
February is National Children’s Dental Health Month. As a part of children’s dental health month, Bruno Smiles is sharing fun ways to encourage kids to practice good dental hygiene. Good dental habits, established at an early age, are critical to maintaining oral health throughout life. As a parent, you know the struggles of encouraging your children to take responsibility for their health, including daily reminders to brush, floss, and take care of their teeth. But with a few tips, shared as part of the annual celebration of National Children’s Dental Health Month, you can encourage fun, easy, and practical ways to keep your child’s smile beautiful now and for years to come.
One way to encourage kids to practice consistent dental health practices is to offer rewards. Print out this complimentary brushing and flossing calendar, provided by the American Dental Association, and encourage your kiddos to track their morning and evening routines. Laminate and hang the chart near the sink where your kids brush and floss. They can mark off their morning and evening routines with a dry-erase marker. Offer rewards at predetermined intervals, such as a trip to the zoo if they consistently brush and floss all month.
Make brushing and flossing a game
As a parent, you know it’s critical to teach kids proper brushing and flossing habits, but at the end of a long day, it can be challenging to convince kids to take the time to properly brush and floss. One way to combat this is to make brushing and flossing a fun game. Purchase a toothbrush with your child’s favorite character, superhero, or cartoon. Get creative and make up fun stories, using your child’s favorite character or show, during your child’s oral care routine. If your child loves action-packed cartoons, make brushing their teeth an adventure in fighting off villains alongside their favorite superhero. Or if your kiddo loves stuffed animals, ask your child to help their favorite stuffie brush and floss their teeth. Since kids are given instructions all day, they often love being the one in charge, and teaching others can encourage them to take responsibility for themselves.
Reinforce good dental habits throughout the day
Incorporate conversations and activities about good oral health throughout the day and not just at brushing time. One way to do this is by printing these fun activity sheets provided by the American Dental Association. These fun activities, such as a crossword puzzle, word search, and coloring page, contain great information about eating healthy, avoiding sugar, and visiting the dentist. Your child may be much more receptive to listening to information about oral health care while engaging in a fun activity, and it will help you provide friendly reminders during playtime.
Schedule your child’s dental and orthodontist appointments early and regularly
The American Dental Association recommends that children should visit the dentist for the first time within six months of their first tooth erupting. Make sure to bring your child to the dentist for their first visit before 12 months of age, at the latest. Early preventative care is a sound health and economic investment. A study in the journal Pediatrics showed that dental costs for children who visit the dentist before the age of 12 months are 40 percent lower than those who visited a dentist after their first birthday. Continue to bring your child for regular visits every six months to remain vigilant on your child’s oral health.
You should also schedule your child’s first orthodontist visit when they are around seven years old. While they may not need braces that young, it’s critical to have their first orthodontist visit at this age for the best care. This is because by the age of seven, most kids have lost some baby teeth, but do not yet have all of their adult teeth. They are also growing into their first set of molars, called their “six-year molars.” By seeking orthodontic care at this time, the orthodontist can take your child’s baby teeth, adult teeth, bite, and jaw alignment into consideration to establish the best orthodontic plan and anticipate any potential problem during jaw and bite development.
Contact Bruno Smiles to schedule a consultation with your child today!
Bruno Orthodontics offers Invisalign, braces, and other orthodontic treatment for adults, teens, and children in an award-winning office in Chevy Chase. Dr. Jill Bruno is a Diamond+ Provider for Invisalign, putting her in the top 1% of Invisalign doctors. Convenient online scheduling and virtual consults are available for new and current patients.