FAMILIES are being encouraged to take part in #ToothTicklingTuesday as part of National Smile Month.
The day helps to launch the start of National Smile Month (18 May-18 June), an annual awareness-raising campaign aimed at increasing toothbrushing and improving children’s oral health.
On 19 May, families are invited to share their best tooth-brushing pictures on social media, using the hashtags #ToothTicklingTuesday, #smilemonth and #smileLeicester. Dress up as a superhero, share a photo of you brushing your teeth in your garden or an unusual household location, or show us your silliest tooth-brushing pose!
You can also check out a range of online resources for National Smile Month, including a ‘toothbrushing diary’ poster, and a fun activity pack with wordsearches, quizzes, craft ideas and tips on how to look after your oral health.
Assistant city mayor Cllr Vi Dempster, who leads on public health, said: “The ongoing coronavirus situation is making life more difficult for all of us, and it can be tough to get into a routine without school or work to get to. This affects tooth-brushing, which benefits from routine.
“One of the best ways to counter this is to get children involved in fun activities around tooth-brushing, so that it’s not something they forget about. Our downloadable activity pack, and poster where you can ‘tick off’ your toothbrushing, will help with this, and we’d love to see people getting involved in National Smile Month on social media.
“It’s really important we help children to get into good habits early on if life, because this can set them up for a lifetime of better oral health.”
National Smile Month will also be offering tips on how to brush babies’ and children’s teeth effectively, including the important ‘spit, don’t rinse’ message. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for children aged from three years and upwards and spit the froth out when done, but don’t swill with water. The active ingredient in your toothpaste can work wonders if it’s left to soak in.
If you use a mouthwash, do it at a different time to brushing. This way the toothpaste has longer to do its work and the mouthwash adds extra benefit, rather than washing off the beneficial layer of toothpaste.
Always make sure the last thing to go on teeth at night is toothpaste, with nothing to drink or eat afterwards. And try to choose tooth-friendly snacks and drinks between meals – this is particularly important at the moment, when all of us are spending much more time at home, which can increase the temptation to choose unhealthy snacks.
If you are currently observing Ramadan, choose healthier options such as un-sugared dates to break the fast with. You can still keep breath fresh with mouthwash, just make sure you spit it all out – and when waking up to break the fast, make sure you brush afterwards, especially if you are going back to bed. Avoid too many sticky foods as these can do more harm on fasting days, when you may not be brushing or rinsing for long periods of time.
To find out more, this NHS video demonstrates how to brush your child’s teeth: