The month of June marks the beginning of summer but it’s also important for another reason: it’s Oral Health Awareness Month! Started by the American Dental Association and Colgate, this special month is intended to bring awareness to the importance of good oral health habits like regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist. Colgate is so committed to spreading oral health awareness, they’re even conducting a social media campaign called Time to Smile.

If you want to participate, all you have to do is share a picture with the hashtag #TimeToSmile on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+ that involves brushing, flossing, or being excited about going to the dentist. For every picture with that hashtag, Colgate will donate $1, up to $40,000 total, to Give Kids a Smile, a charity that helps kids in underserved areas receive the crucial dental care they need to stay healthy. Likes and reposts also count towards the campaign, so get out there and share your love of oral health care!

Speaking of kids, every parent knows that getting them to pay attention to their oral health is no easy task. You’ve probably experienced tantrums about brushing before bedtime, arguments about flossing, and the inevitable fight when it’s time to see the dentist. If you’re having trouble getting your kids to take care of their teeth, here are a few tips that may help you instill healthy habits that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives:

Make Brushing Fun
Getting a child to brush for two minutes, twice a day is no easy task. Try making it fun! Next time you go shopping, let your child pick out a fun soft-bristled toothbrush. Picking out a toothbrush will help them feel more mature, and fun toothbrushes featuring cartoon characters can make them excited to brush twice a day. To ensure they brush for long enough, find a 2-minute song they enjoy and play it while they brush. When you make brushing a fun activity, your kids will be excited about doing it!

Create a Rewards System
If your kids are still hesitant to brush, floss, or go to the dentist in Philadelphia, PA you may have to go a bit further. Try making a chart or calendar to track their oral health habits. Give them a gold star every time they complete their daily oral health routine and provide some type of incentive when they do a good job. It doesn’t have to be something big; a small motivation may be just the push they need to develop good oral health habits.

Set a Good Example
Whether they’re willing to admit it or not, your kids look up to you. If you want them to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and visit the dentist in Philadelphia, PA every 6 months, you’ll have to practice what you preach. Make a big show of going into brush or floss, and always talk about going to the dentist in positive terms. Your kids will pick up on that positivity and it will help shape their attitudes about oral health in the future.

Good oral health habits start at a young age and it’s never too early to reinforce the importance of caring for the teeth and gums. These tips can help your kids seeing brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist as a positive experience, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #TimeToSmile to help kids in underserved areas get oral health care so they can develop healthy habits.