The month of February is National Oral Health Month, and this is a good reminder of the need to start teaching good oral health habits early. The toddler years are a good time for children to start learning how to take care of their teeth. Children at this stage are learning and getting used to daily routines, making oral care something that is easy to turn into a habit.
Fun Tools to Help Your Child
There are many fun things you can use to help spark further interest in oral care for your child. Some of the options to consider include:
- The Tooth Fairy app from Colgate that includes a game, map to see where teeth come in, and information for parents.
- Child-size toothbrushes featuring favorite cartoon characters.
- Songs like Sesame Street’s “Brushy Brush” that encourage children to brush for two minutes.
Give Help As Needed
A toddler isn’t likely to have the fine motor skills to use a toothbrush very well without help. Make sure your child’s toothbrush is the right size and has soft bristles. Fluoride rinses geared towards younger children are helpful, but you should supervise your child to ensure he or she doesn’t swallow the rinse.
Encourage your child to eat fruit or other produce items as a snack, instead of sugary items. Even when your child snacks in between meals, encourage them to brush their teeth anyway. They will begin to treat this as part of their normal routine.
Other ways you can help your child follow good practices include:
- Changing out the toothbrush about three or four times a year, plus after illnesses. Make things interesting by having your child pick out their toothbrush.
- Make sure your child sees you eating healthy and brushing regularly. You will be setting a good example by doing these things yourself.
- Schedule regular visits with a good pediatric dentist. These dentists know how to make younger kids comfortable and make the experience fun.
Good Dental Health Helps Later
Your child’s dental health early in life will also make an impact on their life later, especially as they progress into school. Pain issues from bad teeth and difficulty chewing foods can negatively impact a child’s quality of life. Even younger children often become self-conscious if their teeth become discolored and other children notice. If you help your child take charge of their oral health from an earlier age, they are likely to have greater self-confidence.
At Montessori School of Pleasanton, we understand the impact that personal habits can have on a child’s development and focus in school. We encourage students to take proper care of themselves, including their dental health. To see how Montessori education emphasizes developing the whole child, contact us today to schedule a tour.