Well it’s that time of year when children of all ages are back at school, enjoying new teachers, new friends, new shoes and new notebooks. And parents everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief that things are getting back to “normal.”
It’s a time for teaching and learning. But it’s not only the job of the school teachers to teach the children; parents need to continue the teaching process at home. And while your children’s teacher is schooling your child about reading, writing and arithmetic, parents should be teaching their children about oral hygiene – it’s never too early! Amazingly enough, studies show that nearly 20% of preschoolers suffer from tooth decay!
Following are some fun ways to teach your children how to care for their teeth using – you guessed it – food!
The Sticky-Icky. You can demonstrate the need to brush their teeth by giving kids a sticky food to eat such as fruit snacks, fruit roll-ups or raisins. Have kids look in a mirror and see how much food is stuck to their teeth. Next, give them a crunchy fruit or vegetable such as an apple slice or carrot stick. Show children their teeth in the mirror again and talk about the difference. Explain to kids that when food sticks to their teeth, they can get cavities if they don’t brush it off.
The Sweet Tooth. Teach kids which foods are healthy snacks for their teeth and which are not by displaying a variety of foods, both sugary and non-sugary, such as pudding, ice cream, cookies, chips, whole-grain crackers, grapes and watermelon. Ask your children to sort the foods into groups that are good for teeth and not good for teeth. Explain to them that when they eat foods with lots of sugar, they’ll get cavities. Distribute the healthy snacks for the children to enjoy.
The Egg-speriment. To show the importance of brushing teeth, soak a hard-boiled egg in a dark-colored soda for 24 hours. Take the egg out of the soda and show the children how stained it is. Ask the children to carefully brush the egg with toothpaste and watch the stain come off. Explain to kids that brushing their teeth keeps them clean and white. Have more eggs available to cut up and give to the children for a healthy snack.
Got Milk? Eating foods that strengthen teeth is also important. Teach kids which foods build strong teeth by explaining to them the need for calcium. You can use the color white to show which foods contain calcium. Explain that just like teeth are white, there are some white foods that contain calcium. Not all white foods have calcium, but dairy foods do. Have a taste test to see which dairy food your children prefer.
We’d love to hear how these experiments worked with your children. Let’s work together to make sure that your children practice good oral hygiene. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!