Tips for setting healthy dental care goals for 2022
Adults aren’t the only ones who should set nutritious goals for the new year! In fact, helping children create their own new year’s resolutions, which include dental care, is a great way to kick off 2022.
So, grab some crayons, stickers and construction paper to get started on your first arts and crafts project of the year! The poster with new year’s resolutions can be hung in your children’s bathroom, bedroom or kitchen to keep their goals top of mind throughout 2022. Parents and older siblings should read the goals to little ones daily until they have their ‘resolutions’ memorized. Plus, it’s always best to lead by example since babies, toddlers and preschoolers tend to look up to their caregivers and older brothers and sisters. That means brushing your own teeth thoroughly, flossing, using mouth wash and eating a fair share of healthy foods every day is the key.
In fact, leading a healthier lifestyle is one of the top resolutions on the list every year. This is a fantastic resolution for the entire family to attempt together. Children who eat balanced diets rich in fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods typically have less health and dental problems than those whose diets are filled with sugar and processed foods. Also, a diet high in sugar is often linked to obesity. And too many sugary foods such as soda, juice and candy can lead to tooth decay.
Experts recommend that added sugar account for less than 10% of total calories consumed each day, which is no more than 19g per day or less than 5 teaspoons for children between 4-6 years old and even less for younger kids. One regular can of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar in it, which can cause cavities. Plus, the acidity from sweetened drinks can erode tooth enamel and cause a variety of dental problems. One example of a young child’s resolution in this category might be:
“I will eat three fruits and three vegetables and only have one sweet treat every day.”
Another resolution for children to aim for in the new year is a better, more consistent oral hygiene routine. This should include brushing teeth (with adult supervision or help) at least twice a day for two minutes at a time. Flossing between teeth and using a mouth rinse with fluoride is also extremely helpful in combating tooth decay. To encourage young children to take up these healthy habits, you can buy inexpensive toothbrushes that are colorful, character-themed, and have built-in timers, lights, and play music! There is also fun flavored toothpaste and flossers that may help little ones stick to their tooth-care resolutions.
Finally, don’t forget to set children’s bi-annual dental visits in the new year. Children should see their dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups starting with their first birthdays or when their first tooth breaks the surface of their gums. An example of how to write a resolution for oral healthcare could be:
“I will brush my teeth twice a day, floss and rinse, with my parents’ help.”
Getting more active and exercising is also an extremely popular new year’s resolution and can be a family affair. However, be sure to protect your children’s mouth and teeth with a mouthguard, which comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Even toddlers and small children who are just learning to balance on push bikes or experimenting with their first scooter, pair of roller skates or just figuring out how to run in general, could benefit from a mouthguard or a helmet with a face shield and chin strap to protect their tiny teeth from chipping and jaws from harm.
Regardless of how your family decides to come up with resolutions for 2022, the best part is that you’ll all be making healthy changes together! The First Things First Cochise Region wishes you and your loved ones a safe, happy, and healthy new year. To learn more dental care tips, visit Teeth.FirstThingsFirst.org.