Encouraging Children To Take Care Of Their Teeth
With an extended break from school now likely, why not use some of that time to help your child with dental education?
Schools in the UK are breaking up early on Friday for an unknown length of time, and many parents around the UK will be wondering how to keep their children entertained and educated whilst also maintaining their own essential daily routines.
Although much is currently unknown as things are moving so fast, it does seem likely that schools may remain open for key worker’s children. But for most parents, they will be responsible for their children during holidays that are likely to be significantly longer than usual.
There will be many articles written on this topic and it is expected that schools will also provide some educational support remotely. Although this is not a pleasant time, it does present opportunities for things may not usually happen due to time pressure. At The Dental Centre Bedford, we would encourage parents to use some of this time to talk to your children about their oral health care and how they can have healthy teeth as they grow up.
Although they should be obvious, it is worth repeating the basics of good oral care. This includes diet and how they clean their teeth.
One of the problems of this extended break is likely to be boredom. When kids are bored, they will often eat more sweets if allowed to do so. Try to discourage this, perhaps allowing them only as treats. It might be difficult, but try to use this time imaginatively to find other things that your children will eat that are more tooth friendly than sugary products.
Brushing their teeth is very important and you will have more time to supervise them as they do this, depending on their age. You could get them to draw a chart where you can tick off whether they have brushed their teeth in the morning and at night, with a full sheet at the end of the week earning a small reward.
Take a look at a few videos on how to clean your teeth and get your children to copy them. Do make sure to get these from a reliable source though. Children don’t always respond to ‘nagging’ from parents, but will happily copy someone that they don’t know from a video. If you can also encourage them to floss as well, that would be beneficial, although this may depend on their age.
You are also likely to find suitable videos about oral health care in general which are child friendly and will hold their attention more than a ‘lecture’ by mum or dad.
Mum … I’m bored ….
It’s almost inevitable that kids are going to get bored during this time and it is probably a good idea to establish a daily routine that includes education, exercise and fun. Most children would probably argue that dentistry is not fun, but there are a number of things that you can do that are dental related to keep your child entertained for a while.
Why not either draw a blank toothbrush or download one from the internet and encourage your children to design their ideal toothbrush? This could just be colouring in or something more intricate depending on their age and ability. You could even make this into a competition as long as you are confident it won’t result in a falling out amongst siblings!
Make up a song
Whilst some people are afraid of seeing a dentist, encouraging your children to see the funny side of it can help. Help them to make up a song or a poem about going to the dentist. This can either be something sophisticated using technology or a simple limerick.
Dances and plays
Kids have great imaginations. You can perform a play about anything of course, but doing one on a dental subject could make them use their imagination and create something entertaining and useful. If you have an old white sheet or a white shirt, one of them could pretend to be the dentist. If your child is a patient at our Bedford practice, why not allow them to pretend to be their regular dentist, even if they make fun of us; we don’t mind .. just this once 🙂
We hope that these ideas will help to educate your child a little more about the importance of good oral health care whilst also keeping them entertained for a little while. On a more serious note, things are obviously changing all the time and our Bedford dental team will do their best to keep you all informed of any changes that might come into affect.
If you have any queries about your appointment or any question either in general or about the current situation, we will do our best to help you. You can contact The Dental Centre Bedford by calling us on 01234 819868.