1) Introduction to Oral Health
Oral hygiene is essential for your child’s overall health, and healthy teeth and gums start with you, their parents. Starting a consistent oral care routine from an early age can put your child on the right path to a lifetime of good oral health.
2) When to Start Proper Oral Hygiene for Kids
A proper oral hygiene routine should start before your child gets their first baby teeth. You can clean your infant’s mouth after every feeding with a clean, damp washcloth, then swap to an ultra-soft bristled brush once they get their first tooth.
3) Brushing- Why It Is Important for Children
Brushing is the most effective way to remove harmful bacteria and plaque build-up from the surface of your child’s teeth to prevent tooth decay. You can begin brushing their teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush as soon as their first baby tooth emerges.
Start developing a consistent oral hygiene routine as early as possible. Brush their teeth twice daily, once before bedtime and at another time during the day. Children can start brushing their teeth by the age of six; however, it is recommended that you supervise to ensure they are bruising for the recommended two minutes and with the proper technique.
4) Taking Care of Your Toothbrush
Taking care of your toothbrush can help to prevent bacterial build-up, which can be reintroduced to your child’s mouth, and allows you to brush your child’s teeth more effectively.
Rinse their toothbrush thoroughly under warm water after brushing, and air dry in an upright position in a place with plenty of airflow. Check their toothbrush for signs of fraying bristles or wear, and replace the toothbrush every 2 – 3 months.
5) Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a vital part of maintaining good oral health. It helps to slow down enamel erosion, prevent tooth decay and remineralise teeth. Infants and toddlers only need a minimal amount around the size of a grain of rice. Children over two years old should use an amount approximately the size of a pea. Always supervise your children when brushing with fluoride toothpaste to make sure they do not swallow it.
6) Flossing Isn’t Optional for Kids Also
Flossing helps to remove food, bacteria, and plaque from places that a toothbrush can’t reach. You can begin to floss your children’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch together, usually around 18 months old.
Flossing can be challenging for children who may not have the dexterity to floss with the proper technique. Until the age of six, parents should continue to floss for their children or supervise while the child uses interdental floss.
7) Avoid Sugary Drinks
Sugary drinks such as fruit juice and cola are one of the biggest causes of cavities in children. Sugar provides nutrients to bacteria in the mouth and contributes to acid wear that result in tooth decay. Milk or water is better options for thirsty children.
If you decide to give your child sugary drinks on occasion, encourage them to drink with a straw and have them rinse their mouth with a little water when they finish. You can also reduce the negative impact of sugary drinks on their teeth by consuming them with meals. If you are concerned about cavities in your child’s teeth, talk with your cosmetic dentist in Ormskirk who can recommend preventative care such as dental sealants and topical fluoride treatments as well as provide parent education for proper brushing techniques.
8) Eat Healthy Foods
A balanced, healthy diet isn’t only good for growing bodies; it is also important for healthy teeth and gums. Foods high in vitamins and minerals can help to protect against tooth decay by demineralising teeth, while certain textures can help to stimulate the gums and boost saliva production to wash away bacteria.
Some essential foods to include in your child’s diet are leafy green vegetables, dairy products, avocados, berries, fatty fish, nuts and seeds (though avoid whole nuts for children under five as they pose a choking hazard).
9) Keep Your Dentist in the Loop
It is recommended that you take your child for their first dental visit when their first baby tooth emerges. This allows you, child, to develop a positive relationship with the dentist and helps to alleviate any fears they might have. Always speak in positively about the dentist and dental treatments to reinforce that dental health is important and to prevent your child from experiencing dental phobia.
Regular visits to the dentist every six months allow the dentist to catch small oral health issues before they become more serious problems. It also enables them to make sure your children are brushing and flossing correctly and check for the correct tooth development.
Northway Dental Practice is a well equipped and reputable dental clinic headed by