At some point, preschoolers learn to do many things without any help. A certain degree of independence is a big step in your child's development, and it can include getting dressed in the morning and tying shoe laces. It can also include learning to brush teeth by himself, as well as taking responsibility for other oral health care duties.
What is Oral Health Care for Kids?
Getting kids through that transition from when you take care of their teeth to when they do can be tricky. You recognize the importance of dental care, but your little one is just learning what it means to follow a daily routine. Making the learning process enjoyable can help your preschooler stick to the routine, so try some of these apps, games and songs to create a lifelong love of oral health.
Tooth Fairy App
Your preschooler probably loves playing with your smartphone or tablet. Make the best of that playtime with the Colgate Tooth Fairy app. Available for both iOS and Android, the app includes a game that makes defending teeth against bacteria fun. It also includes a tooth map for showing your child where teeth are coming through or have been lost, and a section for moms to find important dental health information. The game is the perfect way to start a discussion with your child about the importance of regular brushing and flossing.
Products made specially for your child's size, tastes and interests can be a great way to make the routine more fun. Bring your child with you to the store to pick out a cute toothbrush with a familiar face, such as the Colgate® Dora the Explorer™ toothbrush, which is specifically made to fit young hands and mouths. And by appealing to your preschooler's interests through their favorite characters, he'll be more comfortable with oral hygiene.
Preschoolers love getting messy, so why not use arts and crafts to teach your preschooler why consistent oral health is important? Using a poster board, draw or print off a large, smiling face with exposed teeth. Use a marker to color those teeth yellow, then hand it over to the kids to paint the teeth white. Talk about the importance of cleaning teeth so they stay white and healthy. You can hang the finished product in your bathroom as a healthy reminder of what clean teeth should look like. You can also list the answers to the question, "what is oral health" on the poster so your kids are always reminded.
One of the most common mistakes kids make when brushing their teeth is not doing it for long enough. According to the American Dental Association Mouth Healthy website, kids and adults should be brushing for two minutes, twice per day. Songs that last at least as long are a great way to keep them on track. Load up Sesame Street's "Brushy Brush" on your phone, and let your preschooler watch it while he brushes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that tooth decay affects more than 25% of U.S. children ages two and five years and 50% of U.S. children ages 12 to 15 years old. By making dental care enjoyable, you can help instill healthy habits that will last a lifetime.