How To Look After Your Child’s Teeth & Teach Good Oral Hygiene
Looking after your teeth and your child’s teeth is so important for your health and as soon as your baby gets his or her first tooth it’s time to start teaching them about good oral hygiene.
The first tooth usually breaks through around 6 months and when it does, start brushing with a fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay. You only need to use a smear of toothpaste for children under three and a pea-sized amount for children over three.
You should brush your child’s teeth for about two minutes, twice a day. Once right before bedtime and once at a different time during the day. Encourage your child to spit out excess toothpaste but don’t rinse as this washes away the fluoride.
Supervise the brushing and help younger children to brush to make sure all teeth are cleaned thoroughly. From the age of 7 or 8, most kids can brush well on their own but still check to make sure they do it properly and for two minutes.
You should start taking your child to the dentist when their first milk teeth appear. At first, it’s just to get them used to the environment and to get to know the dentist so that future visits will be easier.
Try to make it fun for your child to ensure he or she does not worry about future appointments.
Your dentist will advise you about how often you should visit. My children come with me for all my dental check-ups and I just book them in at the same time so that our dentist can have a quick look at their teeth too.
The dentist can give you tips to help you look after your family’s teeth — like these flossing tips from The Centre of Advanced Dentistry Yorkshire.
Having healthy eating habits as well as good oral hygiene can help avoid oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease and it’s important to establish these early in life.
Things to think about is to not let your child have sweets too often and when they do, to limit the amount. Try to avoid eating sweet things near bedtime as the saliva flow is less at night.
Healthy snacks include fruit and raw vegetables, toast and dairy products. Dried fruit is very high in sugar and should only be given to children with meals as the amount of sugar is bad for the teeth.
Fizzy drinks contain a lot of acid and the full sugar ones are very high in sugar so fizzy drinks should be completely avoided. The acid in both types erode the outer surface of the tooth. Instead, offer water or full-fat milk from 12 months. Juice and smoothies are also high in sugar and acids so try to limit these drinks to just one small glass per day and offer at mealtimes.