Simple Steps For Teaching Foster Kids About Healthy Dental Habits

When you take on foster kids, you likely know that this is a rewarding but challenging endeavor. You have the opportunity and privilege of making a huge difference in the lives of children, yet there is also a responsibility to help impressionable children. One gift you can give your foster kids is teaching them healthy dental care habits that can serve them for life.

Get Fun Dental Care Supplies

Offer to take your foster children shopping for new dental supplies. Let them choose which ones they want.  When they have the chance to choose a toothbrush in their favorite color or select one with their favorite cartoon character, they may be excited to take care of their teeth. You may be surprised at how grateful and ready they are to take care of their teeth. Some foster children may not have had the privilege of doing that before. 

Observe Foster Kids While They Brush Their Teeth

As your foster kids brush their teeth for the first few times in your home, take the time to observe them. Some foster kids will have good dental care habits already, and that will mean that you have less work to do. Unfortunately, some probably won't have established healthy habits. 

If foster kids don't know how to brush their teeth or floss properly, gently instruct them that they should brush their teeth for two minutes at a time. If they struggle with their brushing techniques, encourage them to watch you demonstrate the best way to brush. Then brush your teeth in front of a mirror, pausing to take the brush out of your mouth and explain how they can do the same. 

Avoid Shaming Kids

If your foster kids are clueless about dental care or get upset about your attempts to help them, try to avoid scolding them. The sad reality is that they just may not have had role models who took the time to teach them. Be patient and persist in continuing your dental care lessons. When they cooperate and implement healthy habits, heap praise on them. Also, reassure them that you are teaching them because you care about their dental health.

Discuss Preventative Care

Talk to your foster kids about the times when you've had to receive root canals or cavity filling treatment. Explain that these things happen to most people, but also talk about how the positive actions you take each day to care for your teeth can oftentimes prevent tooth decay. 

Finally, make an appointment for your foster kids to see the dentist when you can. Encourage them to open up and ask the dentist any questions they have about caring for their teeth or gums. While they may be disappointed if they have to receive a cavity filling treatment, that will present an opportunity for you to discuss the consequences of not caring properly for teeth. However, keep the conversation upbeat, focusing on what they can do moving forward to take care of their dental health.