Experiments can teach children good dental hygiene
SUMMARY: Teach your children the value of good oral health with experiments that will give them a visual.
Posted: November 29, 2012
You know how children tend to have pearly whites that adults may envy? Through years of drinking coffee, eating sugar and starch, and falling into bad habits, many of us end up using teeth whitening products, suffer from chipped enamel or other oral health issues. This is why it is so important that parents help instill good oral care practices in children so they can keep that healthy mouth for as long as possible. Children can suffer from halitosis, or bad breath, at a young age, and this can be challenging to beat if tooth decay begins.
Show your kids why brushing matters
Kids tend to learn better if they see the results, so why not show them the importance of brushing with a fun presentation? You’ll need two eggs, white vinegar, fluoride rinse and three separate containers for this project. First, parents should put about four inches of the fluoride rinse into a container and gently place one of the eggs into that container. Allow the egg to sit in the solution for about five minutes, and then remove it. Next, put about four inches of vinegar into each of the two remaining containers. Then, put one egg into separate containers, making sure each egg is completely covered with the vinegar, and mark which container holds the egg that has been treated with fluoride. After that, it's as easy as watching a show! Children will begin to notice that one of the eggs is starting to bubble, because the acidic nature of the vinegar is eating away at the minerals in the egg shell mimicking the removal of tooth enamel.
Encouraging children to floss their teeth may be even more challenging than getting them to brush, and this is a big culprit of halitosis. Flossing is sometimes overlooked, but some experts will argue that it is equally - if not more - important than brushing. Parents can try this (sticky) experiment with their kids to explain the importance of flossing. For this project, you’ll need a jar of peanut butter, a rubber glove, a spoon, dental floss, toothpaste and a toothbrush.
Parents may want to be the experimentee so children can get the full effect of the purpose of this activity. You’ll put the rubber glove on your hand, and have your child spread peanut butter between your fingers, and then tightly align the fingers - they are acting as the teeth in this experiment. Then, with your fingers staying tight, you can have your child use the toothbrush and toothpaste to try to get all the peanut butter out. If you are teaching multiple children, you can have them use the dental floss between your fingers to get all the peanut butter out. Your children may be amazed - or grossed out - with the difference that floss makes, and you may not ever have to worry about making sure they floss!
Beyond the basics of brushing and flossing, there are other ways your children can keep pearly white teeth. Your child’s diet can be causing halitosis or cavities. Snacking frequently on sugary or carbo-loaded treats will increase the chances of oral health issues for your child. Instead, encourage snacks like fruits, cheese, vegetables, and whole grains, which won’t hinder the health of their mouth or cause bad breath. Also, parents should encourage children to stay away from soda, or make a deal that they must have two glasses of water for every soda they have - one before and one after. The glass before may even quench their thirst, causing them to no longer want a soda, but if that doesn’t work, the second glass will help rinse away the acid from their teeth and mouth.