February is not far away, and for dentists everywhere, it's going to be an exciting month. In the United States, February is National Children's Dental Health Month, a time to focus on improving your child's dental hygiene routine and educating yourself (and your child) about common dental ailments in children. Here are some ideas for celebrating with your family.
Make brushing time family time.
Children learn by copying. If you show a good example by brushing your teeth thoroughly twice per day, your child will grow up emulating that behavior. During the month of February, make brushing time family time. Gather everyone in the bathroom to brush at the same time. Your child can watch you brush to learn some tips and better habits, and you can have a good time together making silly faces and spitting your toothpaste into the sink. This will also help make brushing fun, which helps keep children inspired to keep doing it.
Watch some dentistry videos or read books about the dentist.
If you regularly read with your child, visit the library and look for a book or two about dentistry for kids. There are books that explain, in kid-friendly terms, when the dentist is doing when he or she looks in the mouth. Other books offer kids good tips for brushing and flossing. You could also look up children's dentistry videos on YouTube and watch them together as a family.
Visit the dentist.
If your kids are overdue for a checkup, this is the month to schedule it! While most general dentists accept young patients, consider finding a pediatric dentist for your child's needs. They typically have child-size equipment, staff that are used to working with kids, and a more child-friendly atmosphere. Many kids have at least a slight fear of visiting the dentist, so going to a pediatric dentist will make the experience more comfortable.
Make tooth-friendly food choices.
Eating the right foods helps keep teeth healthy. Every day, help your child pick out a new tooth-friendly snack to enjoy in the afternoon or evening. Good options include cheese, apples, milk, yogurt, nuts, and crunchy veggies. Talk with your child about why each food is a healthy choice for their teeth. Apples and crunchy veggies are great because they help "scrub" the teeth clean. Milk, yogurt, and other dairy products are great because they contain calcium that's important for strong teeth. Nuts are high in magnesium, another mineral that's essential for preventing cavities.
Incorporate these activities into your routine for February, and you'll benefit greatly from Children's Dental Health Month.