Encouraging children to look after their teeth can sometimes be an uphill battle. Here are some oral health tips that encourage better dental care in kids.

Tooth-Friendly Food

Fruit, vegetables, cheese, lean meat and nuts are better for teeth than cookies, candy and chips, but children sometimes need encouragement to make those healthy choices. They worry about eating unfamiliar food, and can feel uncomfortable without control over their own diet. If you want to improve your children’s eating habits, consider these tips to make the process fun for them.

Involve your child in buying or growing your food, and let them prepare it for the table.

Bring your child’s favorite teddy to the dinner table. Young children are often happier about eating an unfamiliar food if they have “fed” it to someone else first.

Make healthy food convenient. Hungry children don’t want to wait while you chop carrots, wash an apple or cut cheese into cubes, so have a container of pre-prepared healthy snacks in the refrigerator ready for when a stomach starts to rumble.

Give your kids a list of healthy snacks, take a trip to the supermarket and let them fill a basket and pay at the checkout. At home, put the snacks in a special box and label it with their names.

Save sugary and starchy food for mealtimes. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) says that eating these foods in meals reduces their potential to cause cavities.

Brushing and Flossing

Parents should brush their children’s teeth up to the age of eight, according to the AAPD, and floss them until they turn 10. But implementing good habits is hard when your child won’t cooperate; keep up the fun additions with these interactive routines at the sink.

Buy two or three toothbrushes and different kinds of toothpaste and let your child choose which one they’d like to use. Also let them decide whether it’s Mom or Dad’s turn to brush, and what brushing music to play.

This may sound trivial to most parents, but ask your dentist to give you a “lesson” on how to brush children’s teeth, and make a reward chart that your child adds to when you’ve done your job. List the rewards that can be earned, such as a hug, a kiss or a trip to the park.

Dentist Visits

Getting your child into the habit of going to dentist will be great for them later in life. Here are some tips to ensure they look forward to each visit.

Start young, so your child sees dentist visits as a normal part of life. The AAPD explains that children should have their first visit after their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday.

Prepare your child for what to expect by reading children’s books about dentist visits.

Don’t reward your child for going to the dentist, as this implies it’s something to be endured. Turn the visit into part of a fun excursion instead. Go to the movies, the park or another fun destination before or after your appointment.

Stay calm and let the dentist handle it if your child fusses.

Oral health tips are easy to come by; putting them into practice is harder. But with a little creative thinking and patience, your kids can enjoy taking care of their teeth throughout their childhood.

If you are looking for a dentist for you or for your entire family, we hope that you will consider Dr. Ben Johnson at Johnson Family Dental in Paducah.  Dr. Johnson has been in practice for over ten years.  For more information on Dr. Johnson and our entire team, you can call our office at (270) 554-2432, stop by our office located at 2913 Lone Oak Rd, Paducah, KY or CLICK HERE to contact us.