Simply put, the importance of children’s teeth cannot be ignored. Creating and establishing a good oral health routine sooner rather than later means that not only will this mean that children are less likely to fall into bad health habits, but can be a huge benefit to their general health and wellbeing.
Many parents have a hard time when it comes to judging how much dental care their child needs. Whilst they know to avoid cavities, they don’t always know the best way in which they can do this, other than brushing. It is never too early for children to learn and understand the importance of good oral hygiene. Starting with twice daily brushing, a healthy diet and regular dental visits are all good stepping stones and, whilst all three are vital for children’s oral health, there are more ways in which you can look after your child’s teeth and oral health. With this in mind, here are 3 top tips for looking after your children’s teeth.
Know When To Start Brushing
Good dental care should begin before your baby’s first tooth appears. It’s important to remember that just because you can’t see any teeth, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any there. Interestingly, teeth begin to form during the second trimester of pregnancy and, at birth, your baby has around 20 primary teeth, some of which are already developed within the jaw. You should also help them to understand the benefits of brushing the teeth twice a day.
Before your baby starts teething, you should run a (soft) clean, damp washcloth or muslin cloth over the gums and gum line to clear away any bacteria. Then, as soon as baby teeth begin to appear, you can start to get them used to brushing their teeth, using a toothbrush and the taste of toothpaste. Once your little one has one or two teeth, then you can start to gently brush the teeth and around the gumline.
Visit The Dentist
Another part of getting children on the right path to good oral health is getting them used to visiting the dentist as soon as possible. If you’ve got any dental appointments coming up, then take them with you, even at a young age. This allows them to get used to the sounds, smells and sights of the dentist, so they don’t have dental anxiety. Letting your children attend your dental appointments with you is a fantastic way to make sure that they don’t grow up wanting to avoid the dentist.
Regularly attending dentist appointments from a young age also means that your dentist can keep a watchful eye on the way your child’s teeth develop. As your child approaches pre-teen age, it might be that they need braces and your dentist can then make recommendations for the best treatment for them, even into adult life where they might need invisalign braces.
Many parents make the mistake of believing that because baby teeth will eventually fall out and make way for adult teeth, it doesn’t matter as much when it comes to taking care of them at a younger age. Developing good habits early is vital, as these habits then carry on into adulthood and later life and then your children have a much better chance at keeping their adult teeth as healthy as possible.
Encourage A Healthy Diet
Each time we eat something containing sugar, our teeth are under attack from potentially harmful bacteria. Now, imagine the pressure your children’s teeth are under every time they have a sweet treat or drink. One of the biggest mistakes that parents make is letting their children have sugary drinks and letting them go to sleep without brushing their teeth. Our saliva production decreases when we go to sleep, meaning that teeth are under attack for longer.
It can be tempting to give your children sweet treats and sugary snacks as a reward when they’re exhibiting good behavior, but try to avoid doing this regularly, as this can prompt them to develop a bad relationship with sweet, junk food as they get older. Generally speaking, try to give your child a diet that is rich in minerals, vitamins, fresh fruits and vegetables as this will not only support their overall health, but also their oral health too.
Depending on the age of your child, there are some simple healthy snack and drink swaps you can make to support their general and oral health. Avoid sweet juices and fizzy drinks throughout the day and encourage them to drink water instead. Crunchy fruits and vegetables are much healthier snacks than crisps and sweets and the crunchy texture of the fruits and vegetables can help to reduce the build up of plaque. No child is born with a sweet tooth, so by encouraging them to make healthy food choices for the teeth when they’re younger, this means that they stay healthy and make good dietary choices as they grow up.
As your child grows up, it is important to keep an eye on their dental health and encourage healthy habits. Plan routine dental checkups at least once a year and keep up with your dentist’s recommendations. Regular brushing and flossing can help to keep cavities and decay at bay, especially as your child grows. Looking after your child’s oral health is relatively easy and straightforward, it just needs input from the both of you.