How do you take care of your children’s teeth.
It’s never too early to start practicing good oral hygiene.
Kids rely on you to make the most important decisions of their little lives, what to eat, where to sleep, when to bath – all of which are in their best interests. But what about their dental health? The right start to your child’s oral hygiene will help lay the path the way for healthy teeth for life.
Why is oral hygiene so important?
There is a misconception that baby teeth are not important because they aren’t the permanent teeth. This couldn’t be more wrong. Baby teeth have multiple important functions. One of the main ones is reserving the correct space in the gums for the eruption of permanent teeth. Primary molars need to be kept until your child is between 11 and 13 years old. Losing primary teeth too early due to decay is commonly caused by the prolonged exposure to sweet foods and liquids as well as food acids.
Infants with healthy teeth chew food easily and learn to speak clearly, paving the way for the correct oral development. A child who gets into the habit of looking after their primary teeth is far more likely to look after their adult teeth – a necessity for good oral health, confidence and a brilliant smile.
Preventing tooth decay.
Daily brushing for at least 2 minutes and flossing
A balanced diet
Age appropriate Low-fluoride toothpaste
Regular visits to the dentist
Remember these important tips.
Clean your child’s teeth before bed – this is more important than brushing in the morning, when we sleep our teeth are more susceptible to acid attack leading to decay.
Limit sugars, found in everything from fruit juice, yogurt to sports drinks etc.
Teach your child to sip on water by the time they reach 12 months.
Try to encourage babies to try to drink from a cup after 12 months.
Don’t leave bottles in the baby’s cot with anything other than water.
As soon as your baby has teeth they need to be cleaned. You can do this with a soft cloth or a babies toothbrush. Getting them used to it from an early age will make life easier as they get older.
When can a child brush their own teeth.
I like to say when they have good manual dexterity to write their own name fluently. That may be 6 or 7 or even 8 years old. As a parent it may be more important to keep their teeth healthy than teach them independence. Let them learn independence by making their beds and doing other chores. Teeth are too important to be left up to a 4 year old to make sure it’s done properly.
Nic’s tips when brushing her children's teeth
“Hi guys, I have 2 boys and we’ve worked out a really good system that works for us so I thought I’d share. We brush our boy’s teeth when they are in bed. We have found this easier because they are laying down and we have really good vision to see their teeth and make sure all surfaces are cleaned well. We put a small amount of toothpaste on their toothbrush and then wet it a little. It’s perfectly fine for the children to swallow because of the small amount. We try to encourage them not to have a drink after brushing as well because that allows the toothpaste to soak into their teeth. We then floss their teeth, it’s most important to floss the teeth that are touching. So because my boys have large gaps between their front teeth we only need to floss between the ones at the back. We use the Supagrip flosser just because it’s easier to get into their small mouths. When they were younger we had periods where they would be fussy and wouldn’t allow us to brush their teeth, usually a quick cheeky threat that we would leave the room without cuddles or their taking their teddies would have them opening up quickly.”