The struggles and how to overcome them
This morning, at school drop off, I kissed Miss 5 on the forehead and as I pulled away she smiled up at me. There I saw it – remnants of breakfast. The discernible smudge of vegemite on the side of her mouth coupled with an obvious grain from her slice of multigrain toast wedged between her upper incisors. Then I looked down at her shirt. Where was her trademark toothpaste stain? “Did you brush your teeth this morning?” I quizzed her. She replied with a sideways glance and coy shrug… “Oh! No. I forgot.”
I’m sure I am not the only one to have dropped this particular parenting ball. And in the hectic game that is getting the kids ready and to school on time, it is understandable that the occasional teeth brushing get forgotten. So for this reason, amongst others, we have come up with a few parenting hacks which will hopefully make maintaining your child’s oral health a little easier.
1. The job chart! This hack is particularly targeted at hectic school mornings and may only work on children of a younger age bracket (say, under 12 years). A friend of mine uses this method and swears by it. It is a simple chart with all of the morning jobs on it. She uses magnets and a simple “to be done/done” scheme. Once the child has finished the job they move a magnet with a picture of the job from the “to be done” column to the “done” column. She has included simple tasks on this chart like ‘made bed’, ‘packed school bag’ and ‘brushed teeth’. She can glance at the chart before leaving the house and knows which jobs her son has not done. The chart can also be adapted for the bedtime routine. No more ‘Oh, I forgot’ excuses!
2. If your child has a sweet tooth, like mine, they may prefer to opt for sweet treats rather than the healthy options which are better for our teeth. I find that afternoon tea is a particular battle with Miss 5. So in order to overcome this, I offer her three healthy, yet appealing, treats of which she chooses one. These can include cruskits with salad and cheese, hummus and veggies, or savoury muffins. Miss 5 is loving fruit snack bites at the moment. They are great because they are home-made and can be adapted with any seasonal or frozen fruit. And they can be made in bulk and stored in the freezer. You can find recipes for these and other great healthy options for kids at http://kidgredients.com.au/ .
3. Mouthguards. You may think that just because your child plays a non-contact sport that they may not need it. But the Australian Dental Association confirms that sports which allow for accidental collisions are just as responsible for dental trauma as contact sports. These non-contact sports can include netball, basketball, cricket and soccer, amongst others. Encouraging your child to wear a mouth guard can save their teeth from immense trauma such as chipped teeth and nerve damage as well as broken jaws. It will also save your hip pocket from trauma!
A few other quick hacks for long-lasting oral health are:
1. Make brushing fun;
2. Making brushing normal (part of an everyday routine);
3. Encourage flossing;
4. When dining out, allow the use of gum after meals; and
5. Start young. Get babies used to having a toothbrush in their mouth and they won’t be so resistant when they get older.
For more information on maintaining your child’s oral health please do not hesitate to contact KIDS. Alternatively, complete the form below, and one of our friendly team members will contact you.