Smile Bright: Open Wide It’s Time to Learn About Oral Health at Footsteps
At Footsteps we understand that teaching young children about oral health can be a challenging task. However, instilling good dental habits at an early age is crucial for their overall well-being. To make this important lesson fun and engaging, we’ve compiled some of our creative and enjoyable activities that you can also do at home. These will not only keep your little ones entertained but also promote healthy smiles.
The Importance of Teaching Oral Health Early
- Oral health is a fundamental aspect of a child’s overall health and development. By introducing good oral hygiene practices from a young age, you set the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Here’s why it’s so important:
- Preventing Tooth Decay: Children with healthy teeth are less likely to experience toothaches and cavities, which can be painful and affect their daily lives.
- Establishing Good Habits: Teaching oral hygiene early instils lifelong habits that can prevent dental problems in the future.
- Boosting Confidence: A healthy smile boosts a child’s self-esteem and confidence
Now, let’s dive into some of the activities that make up smile.
The Crocodile Teeth Game: A Firm Favourite
We love the game where you have to press down the crocodile’s teeth and wait with anticipation to see which one will make his jaws snap shut. The giggles that ensue are always infectious and it gives us a great opportunity to talk informally about how important our teeth are. The fantastic hand/eye co-ordination this game improves is a brilliant side effect.
Tooth-Friendly Snack Time
We promote healthy snacks by having a “tooth-friendly snack time.” Provide a variety of fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, and cucumber slices. These crunchy snacks help clean teeth naturally and are delicious too. We even turn this into a mini tasting adventure, asking the children to describe the taste and texture of each snack. It is also a great time to talk about which snacks are good and bad for our teeth.
Practice Makes Perfect
We use lots of different props to practice brushing techniques and the amount of time children should be brushing for. Getting them familiar with the skills needed will help ensure they are equipped to be excellent brushers and make sure all those teeth are sparkly white.
Making a Song and Dance About it
We love creating a brushing routine by incorporating a catchy song and dance. Use a timer or a song that’s around two minutes long (the recommended brushing time), and have the children dance around and brush their teeth to the beat. You can find numerous fun tooth brushing songs online to make this activity entertaining.
Smile: It’s Story Time
We all enjoy reading books about dental hygiene featuring colourful characters. The stories of these characters can make dental care seem like a grand adventure. After the story, you can ask the children questions about what they’ve learned.
At the Dentist
We like to role-play being at the dentist so children know what to expect when they go. We used dental tools like a tooth mirror, dental explorer, and a little dentist coat to give the stuffed animals and babies a “dental check-up.” This playful activity helps demystify dental visits and makes them less intimidating.
Remember, repetition is key to developing good oral hygiene habits. Encourage children to continue these activities at home and to schedule regular dental check-ups every 6 months. By making oral health engaging and enjoyable, we ensure that our little ones at Footsteps grow up with bright smiles and lifelong dental health.
After all, a healthy smile is a happy smile!