Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 ways to keep kids' smiles healthy

My first son started teething at three months and had all his teeth by 17 months. That was a lot of intense teething (read: cranky baby) in a short amount of time. When I took him to see a dentist for the first time, the dentist said my son could possibly lose his baby teeth early as well. We'll see....

That visit to the dentist was an important step to making sure my son's teeth are going to be healthy! Here are five easy things to help keep kids' smiles healthy:

1. Well, as I mentioned, visit the dentist. It is important to get regular checkups. Not only will it help keep a child's teeth healthy, but it starts a good habit, which helps ease that common fear of the dentist.

2. Brush -- and floss! Just like grown-ups, kids should brush at least twice a day. I admit I'm not the best at making sure my son's teeth are flossed. I need to work on this. But as the saying goes, you floss only the teeth you want to keep!

3. Don't let children drink or eat sweet things right before bed. Research has shown the sugar pools in their mouth, and it stays there at least until they wake up again in the morning. That's a long time for bacteria to grow, which can cause cavities.

4. Encourage kids to eat healthy foods. As some educational programs say, teaching kids to eat crunchy things (apples, carrots, celery, etc.) as opposed to gooey things (say, pudding) will help them choose better foods.

5. Make it fun! Let your kids pick out fun toothbrushes just for kids. Many have their favorite characters on them. There are also a few different kinds of fun toothpastes packaged for kids. Floss, too. The more kids are involved in the process, the more they will enjoy it.

- - - - -

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Trident blogging program, making me eligible to get a $25 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.