Get out the wands and dollar bills, because Friday, Feb. 28 is National Tooth Fairy Day.
This holiday celebrates one of children’s favorite visitors. Since losing baby teeth is sometimes a traumatic experience for young children, entering the magical world of the smiling, gift-giving Tooth Fairy helps wash fears away. Whether your child is scared about the pain or what his or her mouth will look like afterward, this is the day to help.
National Tooth Fairy Day marks a great opportunity to share with your kids the importance of keeping your teeth bright and healthy from a young age. Say so long to cavities and bad breath. Studies have shown that how well children take care of their baby teeth often translates into how well they will take care of their teeth as adults.
However, there is one simple, yet frequently overlooked fact: Children’s smiles depend on their parents. Encourage your kids to brush, floss and eat smart every day. Don’t forget about visits to the dentist, either! Working on habits surrounding oral health for kids will give them a head start on a lifetime of picture-perfect teeth.
Four magical tips
So, before parents tuck money under their child’s pillow at night, here are three things they should put to use to keep their kids smiling through the gaps in their teeth – these tips could even save you money on dental treatments down the line.
- Brush following the “two-and-two” rule: twice a day for two minutes each. Most people spend only 46 seconds brushing, according to Delta Dental. It’s time to step up your child’s game! For youngsters, one good way to do this is to bring your smartphone or mp3 player into the bathroom and play their favorite song. Have them brush until the two-minute mark. For pre-teens, you and your spouse could decide to lengthen TV-watching privileges or cut down one of their chores for good oral care habits.
- Floss once a day. Though often considered the forgotten middle child of hygiene routines, flossing is extremely important, since it can dislodge food particles from nooks that a toothbrush cannot reach. Some dentists find that flossing before brushing proves to be more effective in developing the practice into a habit, since after we brush we sometimes get the false notion that our mouths feel clean enough, and we will forego flossing.
- Fun tip: Demonstrate what flossing does. Please note that it’s a bit messy! In the kitchen, put on a pair of plastic (kitchen) gloves, then smear peanut butter, preferably chunky, over one side of your fingers and between them all the way down to your knuckles. Then, squeezing your fingers together, have your child try to brush your fingers, which are serving as the substitute for teeth. Does the toothbrush clean the food stuck between the fingers? Now, instruct your child to floss between your fingers. A lot better, right? This exercise will help visualize the power of flossing.
- Visit the dentist once every six months. There doesn’t have be an issue with your child’s teeth for them to go in. In fact, their dentist – and tooth fairy – will be more than pleased to see them when they don’t have problems! If you notice long-lasting halitosis, or bad breath, it may be a sign of an underlying issue for your child, such as a rotting tooth. If the tooth finally comes loose, yank it and leave it for the tooth fairy. Otherwise, consult your dental professional.
On National Tooth Fairy Day, oral health for kids is the shining star. However, putting these habits to use after Friday and throughout the year will ensure your kid will wear a bright, healthy smile for years to come.