Making Oral Health Fun: How to Explain Dental Concepts to Children
Your child’s baby teeth are important.
At Pediatric Dental Specialists, we get that children would rather do a million other things than brushing their teeth. But establishing a good oral hygiene routine from as young as possible means a lifetime of happy, healthy teeth and gums, which is why we recommend making oral health fun for your kids.
Most parents think a child’s baby or primary teeth aren’t really that important because they fall out anyway, but baby teeth do far more than keeping the tooth fairy gainfully employed. They support the facial structure and also help the jaw and face develop properly. And of course, they are necessary when it comes to chewing food, aiding in digestion, and growth.
But that isn’t all. Your child’s baby or primary teeth guide their permanent teeth into place. And because baby teeth have thinner enamel, they are more susceptible to infection and decay and can affect their adult teeth.
But how do you explain the importance of dental hygiene to your little one when some adults don’t even get it? You make oral health fun, with some easy experiments that you can do at home.
Fun Ways to Explain Oral Health to Children
One of the easiest ways to explain the concept of brushing, flossing, and cavities is with show-and-tell type activities.
Use Yellow Paper and Paint to Make Oral Health Fun
This is a great way to show your children the importance of brushing. Grab some yellow paper and cut out a couple of large teeth shapes. You can use these to explain to your little one how their teeth can quickly become yellow without regular brushing.
Using white paint (toothpaste) and a paintbrush (toothbrush), let him give the yellow paper teeth a good brush, to make them white again.
The Perfect Tooth Enamel Activity with an Egg
Using a hard boiled egg, you can explain how the shell protects the “tooth.” For older children, hold the egg up to a light and show them how difficult it is to see what’s inside. Then place the egg in some vinegar for 24 to 48 hours. The shell will soften, and the once-hard egg will now be soft and semi-translucent. You will be able to demonstrate how easily the shell can now break and be damaged.
This oral health activity is the perfect fun way to show how the enamel can be destroyed and leave the teeth vulnerable to decay and damage.
Oral Health Fun with an Apple
A good old apple doesn’t just keep the doctor away, it is also an excellent way to demonstrate how a small hole (cavity) can quickly affect the entire tooth (apple).
Use a pencil to make a small hole in the apple. Leave the apple in a spot where your child can observe it throughout the day. When the hole starts turning brown, you can explain the importance of regular brushing and flossing to prevent cavities.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dental Health for Children
When is my child ready for their first dental appointment?
We recommend you book your child’s first dentist appointment when they get their first tooth or when they turn one, whichever comes first.
What happens at my child’s first dentist appointment?
At Pediatric Dental Specialists, we make sure your child’s first visit to the dentist is as stress-free as possible. After a tour of our office, you and your child get to meet the dentists, visit the toy station and play areas, and even get to see other children having their teeth cleaned. At the end of the visit, they get to choose a prize and a sticker.
How can I encourage my child to brush their teeth daily?
One of the most effective ways to get your child to look forward to brushing their teeth is to get a toothbrush that features their favorite character. You can also get toothbrushes that play a song for the recommended two minutes’ brushing time. Now that was a genius idea for making oral health fun! For baby teeth, it is best to get a soft bristled brush that won’t damage their gums.
How can I prevent my child from getting cavities?
Parents make the mistake of thinking it is the amount of sugar that causes tooth decay when in fact it is how often they have it. Try to limit sugar to mealtimes, and make sure snacks are healthier foods like vegetables, fruit, and cheese.
My child has special needs. Are you able to help?
Absolutely. The staff at Pediatric Dental Specialists are specially trained to help children with special needs. When you book your child’s first appointment with us, we request as much information as possible. Our dentists will then work closely with your child’s doctor to make sure any work they do conforms to their overall health plan.
Where are you situated?
You will find us in in Hastings, Nebraska, Omaha, and Grand Island. Our family can’t wait to meet yours. Schedule your appointment today.