Five Simple Things You Can Do to Keep Your Child's Smiles Healthy and Bright
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Five Simple Things You Can Do to Keep Your Child's Smiles Healthy and Bright

What can be more precious than your child's happy, healthy smile? But it is no easy task to keep that healthy smile for life. Tooth decay, as the most common chronic childhood disease, has posed a real threat to children's oral health. Studies have shown that each year, more than 51 million school hours are lost as a result of problems related to tooth decay and that tooth decay affects approximately half of all second graders and nearly 80 percent of 17-year-olds!

As a parent, you need to know the importance of caring for your child's oral health and to take active steps to help her establish good oral care habits in order to reduce the risk of oral diseases. Trident and TwitterMoms have teamed up for a new blogging program about oral care for kids. Share five simple things you can do for your child to keep their smiles healthy and bright on your blog.  The first 100 qualified participants will get a $25 Target gift card and one random qualifying participant will win a grand prize of $100 Target gift card!

Clinical studies have shown that chewing sugar free gum, like Trident®, for 20 minutes after a meal helps fight cavities. Xylitol, a sugar free sweetener in Trident, has been shown to loosen plaque. I didn't know these until I read them on TwitterMoms. Trident® has also partnered with Smiles Across America® to help underprivileged children get the dental care they need. More information about Trident and Smiles Across America can be found at the end of this post.

Here are the top five simple things I do to help my child take care of his teeth:
1. No candies before bed.
    This is a rule that has been strictly enforced in our house. Candies are one of the major culprits for tooth decay. The hours when a child is asleep is the best time for germs and bacteria to feast and thrive. To convince my son of the harmful effects, I show him board books with humorous illustrations about what the "bad guys" would do in his mouth if he eats a candy bar at night.

2. Choose low-sugar or sugar-free snacks.
    Sugary snacks, like candies, cookies and cakes, are popular among kids, but they are known to cause tooth decay, especially when eaten several times a day between meals. Many sugary foods are also rich in fat and likely to cause child obesity. So it's really important for parents to choose healthy snacks that are nutritious and not loaded with sugar. Low-sugar, low-fat snack choices include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread and crackers, and  low or non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese. These snacks are tasty, filling, but less harmful to our teeth.

3. Brush teeth at least twice a day. Brush together with your kid to increase her interest and to show her the right way to brush. 
    Parents are their child's initial role models. Children love to imitate adult behavior. Children are more likely to get excited about brushing their teeth if they see their parents do the same. It was when he saw me brushing my teeth in the bathroom that my son first showed interest in brushing his own. I love the picture of us brushing our teeth side by side in front of our big vanity mirror. It has been recommended that children brush at least twice a day for two or three minutes each time. The most effective way to help establish healthy brushing habits is to brush together with your child every time you ask her to follow the routine. It's also a good time to demonstrate the right way to brush.

4. Play the "Whose teeth are whiter?" game with your kid to encourage her to take good care of her teeth.
    The game is real simple. Stand side by side with your kid in front of a mirror, and make a big grin showing your teeth after counting 1-2-3. Whoever gets the whiter teeth and nicer smile wins. Just a fun way to remind your kid to take good care of her teeth. It's likely to work better for younger kids than older ones.

5. Replace toothbrushes at least every 3 months.
    Oral care professionals recommend that we change our toothbrushes at least every three months because studies have shown that after three months of normal wear and tear, toothbrushes become much less effective at cleaning your teeth or gum. Old toothbrushes also tend to harbor a lot of germs and bacteria. Changing toothbrushes often and choosing fun-looking ones can also increase your child's interest in brushing. There are quite a few kid toothbrushes with cute, colorful designs on the market, so you're good to go.

Do you have any tips for taking caring of your child's oral health? Feel free to share with us in a comment or a blog post.

About Trident® Sugar Free Gum
Trident gum has long been a pioneer in providing oral health benefits to consumers. Trident was the first gum brand of its kind to undergo testing in 1967 with studies showing that people who chewed Trident experienced significantly fewer cavities. Trident is available in 11 great-tasting flavors: Original Flavor, Bubble Gum, Spearmint, Tropical Twist, Watermelon Twist, Wild Blueberry Twist, Minty Sweet Twist, Passionberry Twist, Wintergreen, Strawberry Twist and Cinnamon. All flavors can be purchased in 18-piece packs and 54-piece multi-packs (three 18-piece packages).

About Smiles Across America® (SAA)
SAA is a signature program created by Oral Health America, a national non-profit organization dedicated to changing lives by connecting communities with resources to increase access to care, education and advocacy around oral health. SAA improves the health of elementary school students by supporting oral disease prevention services in school-based or school-linked settings, and demonstrating to communities that healthy mouths are integral to overall health. For more information, visit

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Trident blogging program, making me eligible to get a $25 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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