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By Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer

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Topics: Pediatric Dentistry

Oral hygiene is an important part of life. Caring for your teeth by brushing, flossing, and remembering to have regular visits with your dentist means you’ll have a strong, confident smile well into your later years.

Download "What’s the Difference between a General Dentist & a Pediatric  Dentist?" Whitepaper 

When it comes to teaching your kids the lessons you’ve learned over a lifetime, how do you approach it? Will they understand intuitively the importance their teeth play in their development? Will they care?

Your children are smart and discerning, but chances are good they won’t jump at proper teeth care of their own accord. You have to instill that urge through teaching. Luckily, you’re not alone in this endeavour and there are many tools to support you. Here are five great tools to make oral health care fun for your kids.


1. MouthHealthyKids.org

The Mouth Healthy Kids website is run by the American Dental Association and is chock full of tips, fun videos, games, puzzles, and other resources—all designed to make learning how to properly take care of one’s teeth fun. These materials are put together by dentists who have been working with kids for years and know the best way to engage them regarding their oral hygiene and health.

The Canadian Dental Association also has a section on its website dedicated to a few activities for teaching kids the importance of oral health.


2. Classroom Materials by Colgate

Colgate has spent a lot of time creating a variety of resources for teaching kids about oral health. They have everything from printable teacher’s guides for use in classrooms to activities involving team-ups between your kids and Dr. Rabbit and the Tooth Defenders. There are also materials aimed directly at parents to support teaching kids at home.


3. Themed Toothbrushes

Do you remember the first time you were given a free toothbrush from the dentist? Sure, it seems pretty mundane now as an adult, but when you’re young, it’s actually one of the coolest things you could get—free stuff! A toothbrush that’s all mine!? (Forget the logic that every toothbrush you had was always all yours.) Why mess with a classic?

Today, you can find countless iterations of fun toothbrushes featuring Disney characters, superheroes, video game characters, and pretty much anything else your child loves. Being given something as a kid is great; having it depict your favourite character is awesome.


4. Books & Videos

The best way to support lessons from the dentist at home is through books and videos. There are a plethora of great children’s books on oral hygiene. Make oral hygiene a consistent part of the day through stories, activities, and the actual act of brushing and flossing, and your child will develop great habits in no time.

There are also fun videos you can supplement reading with to get your kids’ attention.


5. Calendar and Stickers

Last but absolutely not least, the most classic tool of all: a calendar and gold stars. Every time your child brushes his or her teeth, a gold star goes up on that day. Kids love stickers (heck, so do most adults!) and will just jump at a chance to stick one up each day. Why not have gold and silver, one for brushing and one for flossing, to sweeten the pot in a way your dentist will approve?

Experiment with these tools and find the ones that work best for your kids, and, in no time, your children will be bugging you about your oral hygiene and more.


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Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer

Dr. Saleh Al-Daghreer, BDS, PhD, FRCD (C), an Edmonton Orthodontist who is a registered specialist and a fellow of the Canadian Royal College of Dentists of Canada in the specialty of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. He received his undergraduate degree in Dentistry in 2003 and his PhD in Orthodontics in 2012 from the University of Alberta. He founded City Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry to provide care in the City of Edmonton.

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