How many times have your parents asked you about brushing your teeth? Do they mention it every morning before you head out to school? Do they bring it up again right before you go to bed? While it may not seem like a big deal, it is so important that you take good care of your teeth! Even the baby teeth that you know are going to be falling out soon need to be kept clean! Here are a couple ways that you can take good care of your teeth:
Brushing and flossing are the most obvious ways that kids can care for their teeth. Did you know that just running a toothbrush over your front teeth isn’t enough? You should be brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, reaching all the way back to get your molars and even behind the teeth to get some of the hidden spaces that are often overlooked. Ask your parents if you can set a timer in the bathroom to keep track of the amount of time you spend brushing or sing a little song in your head while you brush away the bacteria and germs.
Once you are done brushing, there are still a few things that need to be done. Brushing takes away some of the leftover food from the surface of your teeth but sometimes things slip in between your teeth. If left there, the food can turn into a cavity! Dental floss is easy to use, once you get the hang of it. Just place the floss (it looks a lot like regular string) between your teeth and gently move it back and forth. Sometimes when you take a closer look at the floss, you can see some of the food. Gross! Finally, before you leave the sink, take some mouthwash and rinse your entire mouth, swishing the liquid all around. There are certain types of mouthwash that are perfect for kids and your parents will know exactly what to get at the store.
Even if you do a great job of taking care of your teeth, you still need to see a dentist every once in a while. These appointments are about taking a closer look at the teeth and making sure there are no problems that need to be addressed. If you’ve been following through with your brushing, flossing, and mouthwash, your dentist is sure to be impressed. The dentist will clean your teeth before you leave, just to remove some of the things you might have missed and you will be well on your way to a healthy smile!
To learn more about kids’ dental care, consult the following links:
- Children’s Dental Health Month (PDF) – The American Dental Association explains more about why dental health at an early age is important. This packet offers plenty of activity sheets for kids to enjoy.
- Healthy Habits: How to Floss (PDF) – Healthy Habits offers lots of information about dental care and even features videos that explain how to take care of many routine dental tasks.
- Mouth Power – This site offers plenty of resources for kids interested in learning more about kids’ oral hygiene. The Dental Word Search can be fun for kids of all ages.
- About Kids’ Teeth – This site provides a lot of information about baby teeth, including an explanation on how they can decay if not properly cared for.
- Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Healthy – Kids can read about why teeth are important and learn more about what exactly a dentist does.
- Introduction to Teeth and Eating – Professor Liz Kay of the Children’s University of Manchester goes provides easy to understand guides that offer insight and information about teeth including how they are used, how they are structured, and how to make healthy food choices that are best. On this page, kids can take different teeth and actually build a child’s mouth!
- Dental Activity Pages for Kids – The Department of Health in Tennessee brings together lots of different activities that center on dental care including crossword puzzles, dot to dot papers, and even word searches.
- Smile Starts (PDF) – While this paper centers on a teaching curriculum, scroll down to some of the bottom pages. There are lots of different coloring pages and a calendar to help document dental care.
- Oral Health for Grade 3 (PDF) – Montana’s Department of Health and Human Services put together a packet for information for students in the 3rd grade detailing all the important parts of taking care of their teeth.
- To Tell the Tooth – Mouthy Healthy Kids has created a multiple choice game that makes learning about dental care fun and exciting.
- Choosing a Playlist for Brushing Your Teeth – It isn’t always easy to decide just how long to brush. Sesame Street offers music that kids can listen to while they brush to help them time things perfectly.
- Molly and Michael Molar Get Sealants (PDF) – This color book offers more than just pictures. It also explains why getting back teeth sealed are so important.
- Let the Brushing Games Begin – Teeth brushing isn’t always an exciting activity. Here are several tips for making teeth brushing into a game.
- Fall for Smiles Activity Book (PDF) – Tons of different activities centered on dental care are included in this booklet for kids.
- America’s Tooth Fairy Kids Club – This free club is a perfect way to commit to pursuing a healthy smile with proper dental care.
- A Healthy Toothousand and Two (PDF) – a maze works its way through lots of important parts of keeping teeth clean and healthy