The Center for Disease Control says that tooth decay “affects children in the United States more than any other infectious disease.” The good news is that tooth decay is completely preventable if teeth are brushed, flossed, and rinsed every day. And fortunately, there are several measures that parents can take to prevent tooth decay in their children. They can have sealants put on their child’s teeth which prevent decay by keeping germs and bacteria from living in the grooves of the teeth. Parents can also make sure that their children practice proper oral hygiene by reminding them to brush and floss their teeth every day, buying toothpaste with fluoride and taking them to the dentist for regular checkups. This will certainly indicate to children that a healthy mouth is important. Instilling the habits of good oral hygiene early in life will give them the knowledge children need for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
However, this is easier said than done. Children can sometimes be stubborn or forgetful, and some are not old enough to understand the consequences of poor oral hygiene. In order to help children learn good dental habits, United Concordia, a dental insurance company, has created a fun and free app for children ages 4-11 to help them develop healthy brushing, flossing, and rinsing habits early in life. Chomper Chums introduces children to three adorable, friendly, and fun characters—a lion, a horse, and an alligator—with whom they interact each time they brush, rinse, and floss. The app ensures that children learn to brush and floss all quadrants of the mouth by showing them the inside of their chosen animal’s mouth. Dentistry IQ explains that “children follow around ‘sugar bugs’ as they move, while a timer lets them know they have brushed for the recommended amount of time—two minutes, two times a day. As children rinse, their animals ‘swoosh’ the water back in forth in their mouths as well.” If children are able to brush, floss, and rinse, correctly, they earn coins that can be used to purchase food and snacks to help care for their animals. Kids can choose healthy options to feed their animals, like bananas and carrots, but they can also choose junk food like cheeseburgers or candy. The animal’s health depends on the food it eats. If it eats a lot of healthy foods, the animal remains healthy. However, if it eats a lot of junk food, the animal starts to have dental and health problems. This part of the app encourages children to make health food choices for both themselves and their animals, and it also illustrates the relationship between a healthy mouth and a healthy body.
This app can be downloaded for free on from Apple’s App Store or Android’s Google Play Store.