Cardiff family lifestyle, arts and culture blog.


Improving Children's Dental Hygiene.

*This pot is in collaboration with Accident Advice Line.

When it comes to teeth I can be a bit of stickler for keeping on top of dental hygiene and care. Perhaps it was years of having teeth pulled, injections galore or just simply knowing I don't really hold the key to great dental DNA. Or perhaps it was a combination of these and then some more interesting experiences...

I remember as a kid we'd play this game where you'd tuck your knees and arms into your coat and hug your knees to your chest, whilst your sleeves billowed in the wind. On a fairly ordinary day we were playing this game when one of my friends decided to climb across a bench. She must have lost her footing, because within seconds she'd landed face first onto the concrete and knocked out her two front teeth.

I still shudder when I think about this, and it not only makes me feel a little bit overprotective when my kids try to play similar games, it also makes me want to ensure they take care of those pearly whites, especially their adult ones!

There are so many horror stories in the press these days when it comes to children's extractions. Did you know that toddler tooth extractions have risen by a quarter in ten years?!

Top tips for kids!

Encourage them to floss

From age 7 upwards it's important to encourage flossing. This is so important as it will eventually become a habit, always a good thing!

Make it a Game

We sometimes play silly games to get the brushing over with in a fun way. Our favourite is the copy game, so I'll wiggle my bum and everyone has to do it, then George will do a cool dance move and we have to copy, Molly will then stamp her feet and we copy, and so on… Soon our teeth are sparkling! Another copy game is copy where I brush my teeth, so I'll say 'Up!' or 'Down!' and they copy wherever I move my toothbrush; this is fab for getting full coverage. Nanny Kim plays the great tooth-brushing race, and they seem to love that a lot! There are just so many ways to make it fun...

Sing a song

Make up a song about brushing your teeth whilst they brush along. Even if it takes longer than 2 minutes because they're busy laughing at you as you sing, who cares?! They'll have lovely clean teeth by the end!

Watch educational videos

Youtube is there for a reason. Sit together and watch some kid friendly clips about dental hygiene. They'll soon be brushing of their own accord and you'll no longer have to sing about cavities ;)

Visit your dentist

Building up a good relationship with your dentist is key. I was absolutely terrified of mine, he was a bit too happy to drill, but I think things have changed so much in the past twenty (ish!) years. Our dentist is very calm and doesn't rush in to 'fix' everything. For example, when George was 5 he had a bit of food stuck between his teeth once and it caused a small hole to form. Our dentist kept an eye on it, but in the end it didn't get much worse and eventually fell out when his adult tooth came through. He also chats to them and they get lots of stickers when they leave; they love going to the dentist!

Lead by example

If I don't take care of my teeth, will they take care of theirs?! I doubt it. I think as parents we need to be the example, so taking care of our teeth will encourage them to take care of theirs. 

Help them!

I'm so tired of this, 'You're X years old now, do it yourself!' attitude that parents have. I used to be just like it, but having had my eyes opened to the world of children's autonomy and choice, if my child asks me to help them brush their teeth I'm going to do it! I'm also their advocate and if they need me, I'm there…

Brush twice a day and don't rinse!

Brushing once in the daytime and then before bed are crucial to dental hygiene. I'm also a big believer in not rinsing after a brush because it washes away all the bacteria killing goodness in the toothpaste that remains after that final * spit *.

Cut back on sugary snacks

Sweets and sugary foods are a nightmare when it comes to dental hygiene. Cut back and focus on healthier snacks such as seeds (don't forget to floss!) and veg sticks. Also eat fruit before a main meal to avoid the sugar attacking those gorgeous fangs.

I think there are so many ways to encourage children to take care of their teeth, and talking and listening are crucial to improving dental hygiene in general. I hope I've helped raise a few more ideas to encourage your children to take care of their pearly whites :)

Happy brushing!


1 comment

  1. This is awesome post about children's dental hygiene! Sometimes we as adults forget how a little humor and silliness can really get the point across to our kids.


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