Mom's Guide to Building Confidence and Winning Smiles

My daughters' smiles can light up a room-from my toddler's giggling glow to my kindergartener's open-mouthed smile and down the line to my oldest daughter's toothless grin, there's nothing quite as inspiring as a child's smile. When we take care of these winning smiles and nurture the positive attitude and behavior behind them, I know my daughters will have all the components for a happy, healthy, confident life ahead.

Brush, floss, and gargle.

There's more to a healthy smile than a cursory brush at morning and night. Teach your children to brush their teeth for the entire length of "Happy Birthday," floss before the rinse, and then gargle with mouthwash (preferably one that's specially-conditioned with fluoride or for children). Don't just make these three things a chore. Teach your children that they are just as important to healthy bodies as eating dinner and drinking water or milk! It's a lifestyle, not a burden.

Protect your smile.

An active lifestyle is an absolutely essential component of a healthy lifestyle for you and your kids. Sports can build confidence and character. If your children play sports, they may complain about the use of a mouth guard, especially during practices or unofficial games with friends and family. Insist that when playing sports such as football, hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, etc, your children protect those teeth by wearing a well-fitting mouth guard. Keep your smile safe by giving it the protection it deserves.

Teach your children the importance of a healthy, well-balanced diet.

Teach your kids that the food and beverages that they put into their bodies matter. More than giving them full bellies, this is the fuel that (hopefully) keeps them going all day long. That's why sugary sweets and drinks aren't always the best choice. Not only will they not provide you with the vitamins and nutrients that your body needs, but they'll harm those beautiful smiles, too. Keep the cavity bugs and sugar bugs at bay with a healthy diet that can build confidence from the inside out.

Flash it.

The healthiest and happiest smile is one you use…often! Teach your children the importance of putting that smile on their faces when they meet new people, enter new situations, shake hands, play with their friends, and talk to others. Even if you're feeling nervous, a smile can help get you through. Are you happy? Show it with a smile. Smiles demonstrate confidence-people with gravitate towards others who look like they're happy and confident. Teach your children to use this tool throughout their lives. It will never get old.

Content by Kelly Herdrich.
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