To encourage good dental care, experts offer the following tips and tricks.
1. Start a rewards calendar.
For the younger years, print out a blank calendar, post it on the bathroom mirror, and start charting your child’s tooth-care accomplishments. Offer rewards when predetermined goals are met.
2. Download an App.
Search “toothbrushing” in your app store and several game and timer apps will show up. Oral B, Disney, and even the Wiggles are in on this action.
3. Try Plaque HD toothpaste.
This uses green coloring to highlight areas of the mouth with plaque and bacteria. The child has to brush until the green dye has been removed.
4. Consume sugary treats or drinks in one sitting.
Duration matters almost more than the amount; it’s better if your child drinks that soda all at once rather than sipping on it all day long. Also, after consumption of sugary treats, have your child drink some water and swish it around in their mouth.
5. Consider chocolate.
If you must use a sweet treat for a reward, chocolate is preferred over sticky or gummy candy—it melts off the teeth more quickly.
6. Drink water.
It’s the best way to keep your child hydrated.
7. Buy an electronic toothbrush.
Dental experts agree that an electronic toothbrush of any kind is better than a manual toothbrush.
8. Visit Mouth Healthy Kids.
Download and color a daily tooth care calendar at mouthhealthykids.org. Kids can mark the calendar after brushing and flossing. The website features an assortment of downloadable activity sheets focused on good oral care, including a certificate for lost teeth, dental-themed valentines, and even toothy pumpkin-carving stencils for Halloween.
Visit mouthhealthy.org, a site run by the American Dental Association, for more tips on oral health.