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As kids get older, it’s important that they learn to take good care of their oral health. That means brushing and flossing regularly as well as going to the dentist for checkups. It’s normal to be a bit nervous about going to the dentist, but once kids know more about what to expect, it shouldn’t be so scary. Learning about oral care can be fun, too! From coloring sheets to online games, there are plenty of resources that can help kids find out more about taking care of their teeth.
The Importance of Good Oral Health
Sometimes, kids feel like adults are always telling them what to do, like brush or floss their teeth, but don’t always tell them why it’s so important to do it. What kids need to know about taking care of their teeth is that it’s important because we need our teeth to eat and talk properly, but our teeth are constantly under attack from the germs that live in our mouths. If kids don’t take good care of their teeth, they can get cavities, lose teeth, and get gum disease, which can really hurt!
The best way to protect teeth is to brush them twice a day using toothpaste with fluoride in it. Think of the mouth as having four different parts: the right upper jaw, the right lower jaw, the left lower jaw, and the left upper jaw. Each one of the four parts needs to be brushed using tiny circular motions for 30 seconds. It should take at least two minutes to brush the entire mouth. Afterward, it’s important to floss. Floss removes all the bits of food and junk that get stuck between teeth. Regular visits to the dentist for checkups and cleanings are another super-important part of keeping teeth and gums healthy. The dentist can spot little issues before they become big problems.
Help to Ease Dental Anxieties
Kids might be scared about going to the dentist, but a lot of that fear comes from the fact that so much about it is unknown. There will be a bunch of strange-looking tools and equipment there that they may not have seen before, and they may not know what to expect during a visit to the dentist. The best way to ease fears is with knowledge! Kids can get this knowledge through reading books about going to the dentist, playing games about the experience, and watching videos. It’s also a good idea to play dentist at home. Once kids have some idea of what to expect from playing dentist with their siblings, friends, or parents, that should help them be more relaxed about their appointment.
- All About Teeth: Kids can learn what causes cavities and label the various parts of the mouth on these worksheets aimed at grades 4-6.
- Bad Teeth Makeover: Playing this fun game lets kids see how dirty and crooked teeth can be fixed.
- Brush and Floss Coloring Sheet: One way for kids to learn the importance of brushing and flossing is by coloring this sheet.
- Dental Health Month Sensory Play: Before young children are allowed to brush their own teeth, they can practice on fake teeth!
- Dentle: This game is like Wordle, but all of the words are related to dental care.
- Dentist Coloring Page: One way for little kids to learn more about the dentist in a non-scary way is by using coloring sheets.
- Dental Word Search: Knowing the vocabulary of the dentist’s office can help kids better understand what happens at appointments.
- Happy and Sad Teeth Collages: Some foods are better for teeth than others. One way for kids to learn how to make food choices that will protect their oral health is by making collages of foods that make teeth happy and foods that make teeth sad.
- How to Make a Tooth Model for a School Project: Making a tooth model can help kids develop a better understanding of how mouths work and why they are an important part of the digestive process.
- Little Dentist: Playing this game lets kids explore lots of different things that can happen at a dentist appointment and can help them feel more empowered about going to their next appointment.
- Teach Children to Floss Teeth With Play Dough! Flossing requires fine motor skills and is hard for many kids to learn how to do properly. Practicing with play dough and an egg crate can help them better understand how flossing works to protect their oral health.
- Toothbrush Water Play: One way to teach preschoolers how to care for their teeth is by making it into a fun activity.
- Tooth Brushing Chart: Some kids struggle with brushing their teeth regularly. A motivational chart is a great way to make brushing into a habit!