Our Favorite 5–10 Resources that Teach Kids About Their Teeth
Proactive Preventive Dentistry for Kids of Every Age
Has your child ever skipped out on brushing their teeth? Maybe you have a preschooler who’s resistant to having a toothbrush put in their mouth, or maybe your preteen just doesn’t think it’s very important. Does this sound familiar?
Learning how to properly care for teeth is an essential skill that takes time and work for everyone to master, and it must be learned. The sooner your child gets started with good oral hygiene habits, the lower their chances will be of developing dental cavities in their baby teeth or tooth decay and gum disease later on.
The good news is you don’t have to do this alone. We’ve put together a list of resources for you to help your kid get excited and motivated about taking care of their teeth, no matter their age.
At this age, children love to copy what they see their parents do. Brushing every morning and evening is important, and paired with music, this routine can become much more fun. You can let your preschooler brush their own teeth, but just be sure to brush them too as a precaution.
Preschoolers should learn that they’re going to lose their baby teeth and get new adult teeth, and that this stage of life is exciting. Take this time to educate them and read books about it so they’ll be more prepared when they lose their first tooth.
When your child is transitioning from having you brush their teeth to doing it on their own, it’s important to supervise them to make this transition as smooth as possible. Most kids are ready for independent brushing between the ages of six and nine.
During this transition, your child might benefit from a fun sticker chart to help them develop a strong habit of brushing and flossing. Let your child be involved in the process of choosing a sticker chart. When you let your kid be involved in setting up a sticker chart or reward system, they’re more likely to be on board with it too.
Keep your options open; if they don’t like the idea of sticker charts, you can also try dental health worksheets for kids, books, or apps designed for the same purpose. Or you could incorporate dental education into games and play. Kids love doing crafts, and Pinterest has quite a few creative dental activities for you to try with your kids.
At this age, kids are ready to be fully independent with their oral hygiene. They might not want your involvement anymore, but that’s a normal part of them developing their independence. However, many preteens will need braces, clear aligners, or some other kind of orthodontic treatment. Getting your child on board for orthodontics and then making sure they’re taking all the necessary precautions when it comes to good oral care can feel like a hassle when they don’t want your help.
There are resources you can provide for your middle schooler. If your child really enjoys reading books, they might like books, like Smile: A Graphic Novel, which can be found on Amazon. If your preteen is tech-savvy, make use of technology and provide them with apps designed for oral hygiene, such as Brushout.
Your child is smart and wants to be informed on exactly what is going on with their teeth and how braces work. So, let them learn! Provide them with resources they can read on their own to learn about caring for their teeth during orthodontic treatment and resources for taking care of their retainers or clear aligners. Make their braces experience as fun as possible by letting them customize their braces and stock up on braces-friendly foods.
By the time your child enters high school, it’s your job to hand the responsibility of their oral health over to them completely. Many teenagers and adults struggle with taking care of their teeth, visiting their dentist regularly, and overcoming dental anxiety. One thing you can do as a parent is be aware and understanding and never make them feel ashamed for struggling with their oral hygiene. In fact, you can assure them that it’s normal and very common.
Instead, you can point them to resources if they ask for help. For example, if your teenager feels that they may be dealing with dental anxiety, you can learn about it together and look at resources on how to deal with it.
Sometimes, teens struggle with self-care when they are dealing with mental health symptoms. One in five teenagers experiences depression. Be understanding, listen, point them toward help, and make sure they have a good support system in place.
Whether or not your teen’s self-care struggles stem from mental health symptoms, you can provide them with resources, such as the self-care wheel, lists of coping skills, and fun self-care activities. Set a good example by practicing good self-care and make a point to spend quality time with your teen. This will help them improve their habits and confidence in general and can drive home the idea that you are always available for them.
Comprehensive Dentistry for Everyone at Sheppard Family Dental Care
Your family dentist in Lawton, Oklahoma, plays a very important role in your child’s development. At Sheppard Family Dental Care, we understand how crucial our role is in educating your kids about dental health and making oral hygiene fun and stress-free. If you are looking for a solid family dental practice in Lawton, OK, you have come to the right place. We are excited to join you and your family on your dental health journey. Don’t hesitate to reach out or book an appointment with us; we’re excited to meet you!