Conveying good dental health lessons to your children is one of the most important habits you can teach them. Most dentists advise that children start their dental visits by the age of two.
Always emphasize that a dental visit is a positive experience. It’s a good idea to oversee your child’s brushing until the age of 6, following the strategy below:
- Use a pea-sized amount of an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste
- Brush inside surfaces of all teeth first, where plaque builds up most, using a toothbrush with soft bristles
- Clean all outside surfaces of teeth
- Place brush so bristles are on the chewing surface of the teeth
Dental Health Lessons For Younger Children
Fill one container with water and another with a brown soft drink – cola or root beer, for example. Place a hardboiled egg into each container. Leave the eggs in the soft drink overnight.
Pour out the liquid the next day and examine the eggs. Have your children compare the egg left in the soda to the one that was in the water. They should be able to draw the conclusion that it is important to brush each night to keep their teeth clean and white.
Make a Tooth Model
Make a set of teeth out of large marshmallows as a family project. Have your children flatten the marshmallows for incisors, flatten and clip the corners for canines and indent the molars by pressing a paper wad in the middle.
Attach them in the correct order: three molars on each end, one canine on each side and four incisors across the front. Let the model dry, and use it to point out how food can get stuck in ridges and spaces.
Activity for Older Children
Have your children survey 15 of their friends to find out which toothpaste they use most often. Once the data is collected, have them compile it on a graph.
As they share their graphs, ask questions like: “do more people use Aquafresh or Arm & Hammer?” “Which toothpaste is more popular, Close-up or Pepsodent?” “How many more people use Crest than Colgate?” “How many people in all use either Mentadent or Ultrabrite?”
Make Your Own Toothpaste
Additional dental health lessons include making your own toothpaste.
Thoroughly mix 3 parts baking soda with one part salt. To each half-cup of the powder, add 3 teaspoons of glycerin, 10-20 drops of flavoring (peppermint, wintergreen, anise, cinnamon, etc.) and 1 drop of food coloring.
Mix the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and add just enough water to make the mixture toothpastey. Spoon the substance into a small refillable plastic squeeze bottle or any container that dispenses easily and won’t leak.