A common myth surrounding early oral health is that baby teeth are not as important as permanent adult teeth. However, oral health is the gateway to long-term health. Helping your kids love to brush their teeth as soon as their first tooth emerges will set them up for a lifetime of good oral health habits.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, books are a great way to promote early oral health. While you and your child read together, you are teaching them about brushing, good habits, and literacy. It’s a great combination!
It’s a great idea, right? But how do you make it a habit? And how can you help your kids love to brush by using books? Here are our 4 tips to get you started!
- Find the perfect books! There are many great children’s books available. One favorite is Brush Your Teeth, Please (2013) by Leslie McGuire. This pop-up book presents different animals brushing their teeth. Kids use tooth brushes inside to practice on the animals while you read together. Ready Set Brush (2008) by Sesame Street is another great pop-up book option. Kids recognize Elmo and other characters they already trust. If Elmo brushes his teeth, clearly your kids should brush their teeth, too!
- Make reading and brushing a routine! Children thrive on routines, so make reading and brushing part of that bedtime and morning ritual. First, brush your teeth together. Then, let them pick their favorite book to read before either shutting off the lights and going to bed or going about the rest of your morning. It’s important that you do this together, as that is what supports the importance of both brushing and reading.
- Have a special toothbrush for their stuffed animal! Does your child have a bear, doll, or other stuffed animal they carry everywhere? If so, use that to your advantage. Have your child brush their “teeth” as part of play and routines. Doing so will help them practice the proper motions while also having fun.
- Bring books to your dentist’s office! Since early oral health care is important, helping your child grow accustomed to visiting the dentist’s office should start early. Bring your child’s favorite brushing book along on your visit and read it in the waiting room. Doing so will help them understand their upcoming appointment and create normalcy around the visit.
Are you ready to get started? Head to your local library or bookstore as a family to find your perfect brushing book today. There is no better time to support your child’s early oral health than right now.