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10 ways toys can teach dental health and hygiene to children

Teaching your children about dental hygiene can be pretty a challenging
task. Sometimes, it’s even hard to get them to do it with you or when you
tell them to, let alone make brushing teeth a habit.

But, it doesn’t necessarily have to be like that. Children will only look at it
as a chore if you make it feel like one. They don’t understand why it is
important to brush your teeth – tooth decay and cavies don’t mean a
thing to a child. All kids want to do is have fun, they don’t want to worry
about their teeth. For all they know, teeth are just something in their
mouths that helps them eat.

So, how do you make teeth brushing fun? There are a few toys on the
market that can help you out a lot when it comes to creating teeth
brushing a habit.

1. Get a Crocodile Dentist

You’ve seen this toy many times and for a good reason. First of all, it is a fun toy. How does this work? Well, it is a simple crocodile head, with a wide-open mouth and several teeth. If you press on a ‘bad’ tooth, the crocodile mouth closes and you’re out of the game. You can use this as an example to start a conversation about teeth health and how teeth can hurt and become sensitive if they’re not properly washed and taken care of.

2. Use chatter teeth or a dental model

These are a fun way to show them how to brush. After they’ve finished with biting everything that moves with their new toy, you can give them a toothbrush and show them how to brush the teeth. Alternatively use a dental model that opens and closes, great for showing how to brush your teeth.

3. Get a giant toothbrush

Naturally, they won’t use this one to brush their teeth  however, they can brush other stuff with it. The purpose of the giant brush is to get them familiar with brushing and get allow them to see can a brush removes dirt.

4. Have a dentist role play kit

With this dentist playset, they will learn the importance of protecting their teeth and familiarise themselves with the medical tools, in preparation for visiting the dentist for real.

5. Add a timer and some stickers

Turn teeth brushing into a fun exercise with a timer to encourage a thorough clean - add stickers to reward great brushing.

6. Start early as possible

We encourage parents to start teaching their children as early as possible. You can start before the teeth even grow. Obviously, that is certainly not going to be a verbal lesson on the importance of dental hygiene, but you can give your toddler something to put in their mouth just to feel comfortable with it. When they become a little older and the teeth grow out, start with soft brushes and use their hand to brush, it’ll get them familiar with the brush strokes.

7. Talk to them

Explain to them what can happen to a tooth if you don’t take care of it, just don’t make it too scary, just enough for them to understand that there could be consequences.

8. Show them what could happen

This is another example of how can a toy be of help. Find a toy that has visible teeth. If possible take a tooth out or paint it black and explain to your kid why that’s not good. You can even find pictures and colour in some teeth. Kids will find it funny and definitely will not want their teeth to like that once they see it for themselves

9. Lead by example

Kids often mimic us. They’ll catch on to some phrases you’re repeating and start saying them, they’ll see what you do and want to do that with you. This is your chance to present dental hygiene as something really fun, aside from being healthy. You can play games with your kids while you brush. Who can brush the longest, which one of you can make more bubbles, who can make the silliest face while brushing – anything, just get creative.

10. Allow them to choose their toothbrush

Picking out a toothbrush is an important part of the process, even more than you might believe. Take them with you when you go shopping and have them pick a toothbrush they like. If you can, you should get them a battery-powered one. It’ll help them clean their teeth better and the vibrations and spinning of the brush will be fun for them.

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