The Do's And Don'ts Of Teaching Kids To Choose Teeth-Friendly Foods

Posted on: 24 February 2017

Any pediatric dentist will be able to tell you that many factors go into how healthy kids' teeth are. Helping your child establish optimal oral health is a complex process, and it's more of an art than a science. One important part of teaching great dental habits is empowering your children to choose foods that are good for their teeth. Here are some crucial do's and don'ts when you are teaching them to select teeth-friendly foods.

Do Prepare for Ongoing Discussions

If only parenting was as easy as giving kids a one-time lecture, then having them fall easily in line with whatever you wanted them to do! The reality of the situation is this. You are going to need to introduce the topic of choosing foods that are good for their teeth, then you will need to have ongoing discussions where you expand on the topic in different ways. Plan for future conversations by predicting how children may react and offering them positive choices.

Don't Speak in Absolutes

It's important to refrain from telling your kids that they can never having something. Yes, hard candy is bad for the teeth, and it should be a rare treat at best. However, it doesn't have to be off-limits altogether unless you have some other reasons for forbidding it. The same goes for cookies and other sweet treats. It's not great for your kids' overall well-being to completely forbid treats from their diet. After all, that could just lead to long-term over indulgence if children feel deprived.

Do Offer Tasty Alternatives When Denying Them a Treat

Sometimes you will need to say no to allowing your kid a treat they want, and you can use that as a teaching moment. You can talk about how it is not the best choice for their teeth, but you should always offer an alternative that you know they love. For example, if you say no to a sugary soda, you may offer your kids cucumber-infused water or other tasty beverage they love that isn't so harsh on their teeth.

Don't Forget to Listen to Your Kids' Feedback

No parent wants to listen to backtalk, but your children may be offering you valuable information when they resist lessons you try to teach them about making healthier food choices. Be sure to show compassion and understanding when children get frustrated at not getting what they want, and reiterate that you understand what they are feeling. Kids can then feel more comfortable opening up about what bothers them about making a certain food choice, and you can alter how you present their choices in the future.

Finally, keep in mind that your children may struggle with their desire for foods that are bad for their teeth. Well-meaning babysitters may ply your kids with the foods that you try to avoid, and they may even encounter such treats at daycare or school. Simply remember that it is a process, and you are not aiming for perfection. Simply try to teach your children to make smarter choices when they can. For more information, contact companies like Sunnyside Dentistry for Children-David E Doyle, DDS.