Although the end of summer may be dearly felt, many children look forward to starting a fresh new school year as fall approaches. Take this time of renewal to reevaluate your kids' dental care habits. Then try these tactics to help your children supercharge their daily dental care routine to better protect their teeth and gums.
Help Your Kids Set Long-Term and Short-Term Dental Care Goals
One way to help your kids think more deeply about their dental care habits is to have them set goals. Gather markers and construction paper. Then sit down with your kids and suggest they write down one to five dental care goals for the new school year.
Some examples of long-term dental care goals kids may set include:
- Getting no new cavities from now until May
- Earning a prize for positive and consistent dental care habits (You may offer a toy to reward kids for following their dental care plan all year)
Once children set long-term dental care goals, talk to them about how they may be able to achieve those goals. For example, if your children are determined to not get new cavities this school year, they need to make a serious commitment to brush their teeth every day.
Some short-term dental care goals for kids may make include:
- Brushing teeth twice each day for the next week.
- Eating only teeth-friendly snacks for a week.
You need to encourage children to set realistic goals. Otherwise, they may get easily disappointed if they set impossible goals and cannot achieve them. Also, let your children know that they may revise goals later. As kids try to achieve their goals, heap lots of praise on them. Reassure children that they can achieve their goals if they work on them each day.
Load Up Lunch Boxes With Teeth-Friendly Foods
Your kids' diet is a very important part of their daily dental care. Try to discourage them from drinking sugary sodas or hard candy. Instead, present better choices that are appealing to their taste buds. Flavored, sugar-free water over ice can be a refreshing beverage for their thermos. Unsweetened, plant-based milks like flax milk and almond milk are also terrific options.
Make the following teeth-friendly foods regular staples in your kids' lunchboxes:
- Chopped Carrots and Celery - Carrots and celery are nutritious. They also help scrape debris away from teeth as kids chew on them.
- Nuts - Peanuts, brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans, and almonds are both teeth-friendly and excellent sources of protein.
- Seeds - Fill small glass jars with a serving of pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for kids to enjoy at snack time.
If your children are resistant to trying new foods that may be good for them, you may want to save new food adventures for dinner. To ensure they eat their packed lunch at school, go for dental-friendly foods you know they already love.
Offer Dental-Related Gifts for the New School Year
Surprise kids with dental-related gifts when it's time to brush their teeth on the first night of the new school year. As you present the gifts, talk to kids enthusiastically about how the gifts can help them stay on track with their dental care goals.
Some dental-related gifts that kids are sure to love include:
- Cute Timer - Cute timers come in many shapes, including animals, fruits, and spaceships. They can help kids keep track of how long they're brushing.
- Colorful Floss - Floss doesn't have to be clinical. Choose floss or other interdental cleaning devices with fun colors and other visually appealing elements.
Browse the dental care section at your local big box store to see a variety of other kid-friendly gifts that can encourage your children to brush their teeth.
Finally, change can be challenging for people of any age, but children may more readily embrace change at the start of an exciting new school year. Make sure kids start it right by helping them stick to great dental care habits. Also, contact Richard Leong, Jr. DDS, PA to make an appointment for your kids' next cleaning and check-up that fits around the new school schedule.