(StatePoint) Oral care and cavity prevention are crucial for overall health, and getting kids to put that knowledge into practice is a must. With National Children’s Dental Health Month occurring this February, it’s a great time to motivate kids to take better care of their smiles with these top teeth tips:
The Partnership for Healthy Mouths, Healthy Lives recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day. If you aren’t able to brush between meals, swishing water is a great way to help reduce bacteria that can build up.
When choosing toothpaste, look for the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance to indicate it has been rigorously tested for cavity protection.
Take a minute to check what’s inside your toothpaste. Many contain ingredients like artificial sweeteners, dyes or preservatives on the label. If you prefer a more natural option, Tom’s of Maine makes the top-selling natural kids toothpaste without any artificial ingredients and no animal testing.
Encourage kids to make healthy nutritional choices that promote good dental health, including calcium-rich foods like yogurt, cheese, almonds, oatmeal, and oranges. While skipping all sweets may not be realistic, encourage kids to limit sugary beverages and candy, and to brush after treats.
Get Creative, Give Back
A new free downloadable coloring book called “Brushing Fun,” is now available to help introduce kids to healthy habits. Each free download will trigger a donation of 10 tubes of Tom’s of Maine Wicked Cool! natural toothpaste to Oral Health America (OHA), a non-profit dedicated to increasing access to oral health care, education and advocacy for all Americans. “Brushing can be fun and it’s never too early to talk with your kids about their oral health, or too late to try to help shape healthy habits,” says Susan Dewhirst, goodness programs manager at Tom’s of Maine.
The coloring book, which can be personalized with a child’s name, offers games, puzzles, tips and facts about oral care, as well as a story that encourages kids to appreciate nature. To show off your family’s creativity, share a page from the coloring book using the hashtag #NaturalSmiles on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for a chance to win a natural oral care gift pack and Utretch Art Store gift card. The free coloring book is available for download at www.TomsofMaine.com .
While you’re caring for your teeth, don’t forget to also take care of the earth. According to the EPA, by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth in the morning and before bedtime, you can save up to eight gallons of water! Parents and kids can also visit www.terracycle  to learn how to recycle or upcycle toothpaste tubes.
It’s simple to show kids that a healthy smile is an important component of overall health. These smart oral health habits can last a lifetime.