boy and girl brushing their teeth

Brushing your teeth might not be your favorite thing, but it has to be done to so we don’t develop gingivitis, cavities or other dental diseases. Yet, it seems almost impossible to get kids excited about their dental health. Here are our 6 tricks that can work wonders for you and your children.

1. Do it together

Brushing along with your child, makes it easy to ensure they’re doing it and it can also make it a fun activity for them. When they see a role model or adult doing it, they think it’s a good thing to do, which it is! When you are a working parent, kids look forward to planned “together time.” It doesn’t’ matter if its reading a book together or brushing your teeth. Also, if they see you are committed to it, it will encourage them to start feeling the same way

Manual toothbrush colors

2. Let them choose

There’s a reason why grocery stores offer various types of toothbrushes for adults and hundreds of variations for kids. Kids don’t always make a lot of decisions in their life, but they might feel empowered when they can choose the look of their toothbrush. It’s like having a favorite stuffed animal or doll they play with. It’s the same for a toothbrush.

3. Make it a game

We know kids get distracted easily. If brushing your teeth together doesn’t work, it might be time to find a way to make it a game. Come up with some simple challenges or games to keep them brushing. Even playing a song while brushing can encourage good health. Furthermore, you could try making bubbles with the toothpaste or create fun analogies to their favorite activities to keep them brushing longer.

4. Set up a reward system

Some children are motivated by rewards, no matter how small they might be. By setting up a reward system, you can encourage consistent tooth cleaning. For example, if they remember to brush, you can get them their favorite snack or cook them their favorite breakfast. Or create a star chart like they have in school. After a week of consistent brushing, give them a weekend reward.

5. Use books and videos

Kids are easily attracted and influenced by books and videos. Luckily when your kids gets bored of brushing with you, you can turn to books and resources out there that offer fun lessons on how and why to brush. You can probably find hundreds of cartoon videos on YouTube of children having fun while brushing, which shows to your child that they can have fun, too.

6. Invest in an electric toothbrush

Sometimes a manual toothbrush isn’t enough to have fun. Electric toothbrushes can be expensive for working parents and they may tend to pass on buying one for a kid that is just going to grow out of it. Nonetheless, the small investment can really go a long way. Especially if your child is already having trouble getting excited about brushing. Electric toothbrushes are actually better at cleaning your teeth and can be more like a toy for your kid as it tickles and makes funny noises. Just make sure you teeth them how to properly use it beforehand.

All in all, most kids won’t become consistent brushers just because you tell them to. Encouraging your child to brush using fun and creative ways can make it an enjoyable experience for them. This will create better dental habits for them.

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We all know soda rots your teeth out and milk makes your bones strong, but what foods are best for your teeth? After being asked this question by a great number of our patients, we came up with seven of the best foods for your mouth. When it comes to the health of your teeth, you really are what you eat. Sugary foods, such as candy, contribute to tooth decay. One of the first areas to decline when your diet is less than ideal is your oral health, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). Use this healthy foods list to improve your diet and the health of your mouth.

Yogurt

Like cheese, yogurt is high in calcium and protein, which makes it a good pick for the strength and health of your teeth. The probiotics, or beneficial bacteria, found in yogurt also benefit your gums because the good bacteria crowd out bacteria that cause cavities. If you decide to add more yogurt to your diet, choose a plain variety with no added sugar.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens typically find their way onto any healthy foods list. They’re full of vitamins and minerals while being low in calories. Leafy greens such as kale and spinach also promote oral health. They’re high in calcium, which builds your teeth’s enamel. They also contain folic acid, a type of B vitamin that has numerous health benefits. If you have trouble getting leafy greens into your diet, add a handful of baby spinach to your next salad or throw some kale on a pizza. You can also try adding some greens to a smoothie.

Cheese

If you’re one of the many people who profess a love of cheese, you now have another reason to enjoy this tasty food. A study published in the May/June 2013 issue of General Dentistry, the journal of the American Academy of General Dentistry, found that eating cheese raised the pH in the subjects’ mouths and lowered their risk of tooth decay. It’s thought that the chewing required to eat cheese increases saliva in the mouth. Cheese also contains calcium and protein, nutrients that strengthen tooth enamel.

Apples

While the ADA recommends steering clear of most sweet foods, there are some exceptions. Fruits, such as apples, might be sweet, but they’re also high in fiber and water. The action of eating an apple produces saliva in your mouth, which rinses away bacteria and food particles. The fibrous texture of the fruit also stimulates the gums. Eating an apple isn’t the same as brushing your teeth with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, but it can tide you over until you have a chance to brush. Pack either a whole apple or apple slices in your lunch to give your mouth a good scrubbing at the end of the meal.

Carrots

Like apples, carrots are crunchy and full of fiber. Eating a handful of raw carrots at the end of the meal increases saliva production in your mouth, which reduces your risk of cavities. Along with being high in fiber, carrots are a great source of vitamin A. Top a salad with a few slices of raw carrots, or enjoy some baby carrots on their own.

Celery

Celery might get a bad reputation for being bland, watery and full of those pesky strings, but like carrots and apples, it acts a bit like a toothbrush, scraping food particles and bacteria away from your teeth. It’s also a good source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give the health of your gums a boost. Make celery even tastier by topping it with cream cheese.

Almonds

Almonds are great for your teeth because they are a good source of calcium and protein while being low in sugar. Enjoy a quarter cup of almonds with your lunch. You can also add a handful to a salad or to a stir-fry dinner.

Along with adding more leafy greens, dairy products and fibrous vegetables to your diet, pay attention to what you’re drinking. Since it has no calories or sugar, water is always the best pick, especially compared to juice or soda. Your diet makes a big difference when it comes to a healthy smile.

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