How To Keep Your Elementary School Student's Teeth Healthy

The habits your child learns as a youngster will stick with them for the rest of their life—which makes the elementary school years a very important time to teach your child about dental care. Plus, taking good care of your child's teeth will reduce the risk of cavities and tooth decay in these formative years. To that end, here are five ways to keep your elementary school student's teeth healthier.

Choose drinking vessels widely.

By this age, your child has moved on from a bottle, but they might still be using a sippy cup because you don't want their drink to spill. Make sure the cup they are using is one that has a straw-like drinking apparatus, rather than one that deposits the drink directly in the front of the mouth. The straw design minimizes contact between your child's teeth and the liquid they are drinking, which reduces the risk of decay when your child drinks things like juice and sports drinks. You should be limiting these things in your child's diet anyway, but realistically, you will probably offer them on occasion.

Buy children-size toothbrushes.

Children's toothbrushes are not just the same toothbrushes stamped with cartoon characters and fun colors. They have smaller heads and handles than adult toothbrushes, too. These toothbrushes are easier for your kids to use than larger, adult-sized ones. They'll have an easier time reaching their back molars.

Set a timer.

Children at this age have little concept of time. Tell them to brush for two minutes, and they'll probably be out of the bathroom within 30 seconds! Start setting a timer to ensure your child brushes for a full 30 seconds. You can find cool timers shaped like characters, smiley faces, and more at a toy store or dollar store.

Brush beside them.

If you make toothbrushing seem like a cool thing that adults do, your child may want to mimic that behavior to feel more grown-up. So, let your child see you brushing your teeth; leave the bathroom door open when you do it. You may even want to brush alongside your child as a way of instilling good habits.

Buy dental flossers.

Flossing is so important to prevent cavities between the teeth. Most kids at this age can't handle floss effectively. However, dental flossers, which look like little plastic picks with floss strung between them, are easier for kids to use.

For more tips, talk to a dentist