The fine people at Oral-B recently sent me an Oral-B Professional Care 500 as a reminder of the fact that September is Oral Health Awareness month. Who knew?
I’ve always wanted to use an electric toothbrush but didn’t know if they really made all that much difference … well, after 4 days of using it, day and night, I can tell you that my teeth have never felt cleaner. The Professional Care 500 model even has a built-in timer to make sure you brush your teeth for a full 2 minutes! Pretty cool!
While I am confident that my own oral health routine is under control, Luca’s teeth-brushing habit (or lack thereof) had been a concern of late. He HATED me brushing his teeth for him and would really only suck the toothpaste off his toothbrush and then chew on the brush, if he did it himself. After wracking my brain for ways to get him brushing, I took a step back … and realised that he needed a step up! When I brush my teeth, I stand and watch myself in the mirror. And we all know how much toddlers LOVE to watch themselves in the mirror! So I found a plastic step-ladder and that made things that much easier.
Then to get him to see the “fun” side of cleaning his little pearly whites, I found this pearler (see what I did there?) on YouTube (with a little Bruno Mars eye-candy for me!):
Step-ladder? Check. Cool motivational teeth-brushing video? Check! I’m proud to say that his enthusiasm is increasing every day and this morning, he announced “I have to drush my teeth before I tan go to stool” :) Proud-mama moment right there!
In addition to enthusiasm, however, a balanced diet and regular visits to the dentist are crucial to maintain good oral health. I need to make Luca’s first dentist appointment ASAP, as well as a check up for myself. Oral-B gives the following advice when picking a dentist for your child:
Pick a Child-Friendly Dentist
There are pediatric dentists who have additional training and interest in children’s dental issues. If you don’t have one in your area, look for a dentist whose waiting room, staff attitude and interaction with children tell you it’ll be a good experience. Ask your health care provider for some suggestions if you don’t know where to start. Melinda and Sasha both recently took their tots to kid-friendly dentists – guys, I’ll need those details please!
Visit Ahead of Time
Bring a child in before the time of the appointment to get acquainted with the place. You can also bring a well-behaved 3-year-old with you on your own check-up so they can get used to the idea.
Examine Your Own Attitude About the Dentist
Many parents have some memories of bad dental experiences, and they can sometimes give off negative messages about the dental chair without even knowing it. The parent who can be most positive about the visit should be the one to accompany the child to the dentist.
Respect Those Baby Teeth
Even though your child will lose his or her baby teeth, proper care and treatment, including fillings, sealants and extraction of dead teeth, will help ensure that the jaw and teeth underneath grow well and stay healthy. Be ready for suggestions about care that you didn’t have as options when you were a child. Also remember to ask your dentist about fluoride rinses to help better protect your child’s teeth from decay.
Establish a Routine
Going to the dentist isn’t the only thing that is important. Keeping up with a good oral health routine at home is key. Here are a few things that you can do at home between visits to maintain good oral care:
- Teach children to brush twice a day. Good times to brush are after breakfast and before bed. Supervise at least the evening brushings for children under the age of seven.
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush. Hard ones scrape the gums. Change the brush every three months or sooner if it wears out.
- Put a timer in the bathroom. Set it for at least two minutes. According to dental recommendations, two minutes is what it takes to get the job done, and children often have difficulty keeping time.
- Make sure your child is getting some sort of fluoride. Fluoride is available in toothpastes, mouthwashes and rinses, supplements or in fluoridated tap water.
- Avoid sticky and sugary foods and drinks. They can cause decay.
I think I’m lucky in that Luca doesn’t like chewy, sugary sweets and asks for water before a fizzy drink every time, but I know that still isn’t enough. Thank you, Oral-B for bringing this to the top of my to-do list!
Make sure you join the power revolution this Oral Health Awareness Month!