The importance of children’s oral health is something that cannot be neglected. That is why the American Dental Association sponsors National Children’s Dental Health Month every February. What better way to fulfill our new year resolutions than by raising awareness about orthodontic care for our littlest patients and their precious developing gums? This year’s NCDHM campaign is promoting the slogan “Get a Gold Medal Smile” so that our children can get a clean start on a lifetime of healthy teeth. Kids are encouraged to join their animated friends, Buck and Flossy McGrinn and their neighbors, Gen and Den Smiley, as they compete for the gold to see who has the most spectacular smile.
What are some ways to help your kids go for the gold? Talk to them about the importance of healthy teeth. Ask them if they could smile or eat any of their favorite foods without any teeth. How would they talk without touching their upper and lower lips together? Since eating and communicating are two prime activities for children, this can be a very motivating and influential concept. How can we stimulate interest about trips to the dentist or orthodontist? You can describe the dangers of invisible plaque and germs that reside in their mouths. A dentist can be imagined as a heroic magician capable of vanquishing these evils with their cavity-killing devices. Your overall goals are to convey the notion that teeth are vital and that their dentist is a friendly doctor who helps keep them in tact.
One possible activity is to sing them a song that imitates the rhythm of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”:
“Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Brush them every day.
Right, left, up and down,
Clean the plaque away.
Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Brush them every day.
Front, back, take off the plaque.
Now we can smile all day.”
Since the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child visit an orthodontist by the age of 7, it is also a good idea to explain to your kids that these doctors can help them win that Gold Medal Smile by fixing jaw problems and oral irregularities, such as teeth crowding, protruding teeth, and overbite/underbite/crossbite. Since early examinations can detect these problems before they become worse (and therefore, more expensive), a trip to the friendly doctors and specialists at Parks Orthodontists may be the most effective and cost-preventive way to ensure that your children resemble the McGrinn Twins and the Smiley Siblings by winning their very own Gold Medal Smile.