Did you know that a healthy set of teeth can have a positive impact on your child’s general health and overall well-being? That’s right!
Educating kids on the importance of dental hygiene should begin as early as possible because how they treat their baby teeth can affect their permanent teeth and oral health throughout their whole lives.
One of the primary reasons why children lose their teeth prematurely is due to poor dental health, which leads to tooth decay and cavities. As seen in our previous blog, tooth decay is one of the reasons for a toothache. Thus, all of this can be easily avoided with preventive dentistry that begins with starting their dental care early.
The below children’s dental care tips can help you protect your child’s smile and give them a head start on their dental health.
How to Take Care of Child’s Teeth?
- Teach Dental Hygiene Early
Most kids start developing their teeth as early as when they are 4 to 7 months old. By the time they are 3 years old, all their twenty milk teeth are fully developed. As such, you should start teaching your kids to brush their teeth from age 2.
This will help prevent tooth decay, which is caused by the build-up of plaque. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause cavities which could then quickly escalate to other dental infections. By starting dental hygiene for kids early, you could prevent dental as well as gum problems, which could save them a lot of stress, time and money as adults.
- Make Dental Check up a Priority
Prioritising dental check-up is important to enhance your kid’s oral care. The right age for a kid to visit the dentist is usually his/her first birthday. As a Sunshine Coast dentist, we firmly believe in the adage, ‘prevention is better than cure.’ Hence, regular dental visit at least twice a year is critical to avoid future dental problems such as teeth crowding, cavities, periodontal disease, etc.
A visit to the dentist can help you determine whether the oral care process followed by your child is working well or needs improvement. A dentist will also be able to detect dental anomalies that we often miss. Plus, with professional teeth cleaning at regular intervals, you can significantly decrease the risk of tooth decay and infections.
- Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing
One of the essential child dental care tips that all parents must diligently follow is the mantra of brushing twice a day and flossing at least once. More often than not, kids are known to put up a fuss when it comes to brushing their teeth, but you need to stand firm and give them no choice in this matter.
With toddlers, you need to be patient and explain to them the different ways dental health can affect them later on. All kids need help from their parents and older siblings to get the basic right until about age 6. So, be around when they are brushing their teeth and make sure that they rinse and spit out.
- Avoid Baby Bottle Decay
When it comes to dental health for kids, this is one thing that parents of infants need to pay special attention to. Never put your infant for a nap with a bottle of milk or formula as this can lead to dental issues. Sugary liquids tend to break down slowly and cling to the teeth for a longer time causing plaque that results in tooth decay. Thus, avoid this at all costs, and if the child does need a bottle to take to bed, then fill it with water.
- Cut Back on Sugary Treats
As mentioned above, sugar is the #1 culprit that leads to various dental issues. Chewy candies can stick to the deepest crevices of the teeth and can be hard to get out leading to tooth decay. Whereas, the acids and sugar in sodas can erode the tooth enamel. Chips and bread have starch in them that breaks down into sugar and leads to the build-up of plaque. Likewise, while fresh juice is healthy, store brought juice can have added sugar in them, which is toxic for the teeth.
- Ditch The Pacifier and Sippy Cup
Pacifier can affect how your child’s teeth line up and may also change the shape of their mouth in the long term. Thus, it is best to ditch the pacifier by age two or three. This can be beneficial for the child in the long run.
Also, while a sippy cup is a great way to move your child from a bottle to a glass, avoid letting them drink from it throughout the day. Using a sippy cup too much can affect the back of their front teeth, especially if they are drinking sugary sweet beverages.
- Be a Role Model
When it comes to learning good habits, parents are the role model that children often look up to. Clean your infant’s teeth with plain water and clean cloth, especially after feeding and right before bedtime. As they grow older, you can teach them to brush twice a day or better yet, do it along with them. Here, give them a soft children’s toothbrush and ensure that they spit the toothpaste out. To make it a fun activity, you can also sing or have a checklist and reward your child with little stars for completing each task (brushing, flossing, and rinsing).
- Healthy Diet
To improve dental health ensure your kids are eating healthy foods that include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, eggs and beans. Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese provide calcium which is an essential mineral that helps make your teeth strong. Also, ensure that they drink plentiful water, as water contains fluoride – another essential mineral that protects teeth from decay. Being hydrated can also lower the risk of teeth grinding. What’s more, chewing high fibre crunchy foods such as carrots and celery is a natural way to brush away dental plaque.
Further reading: Best and Worst Foods for Teeth
- Mouthguard for Sports
Mouthguards can protect your child’s teeth from dental injuries while playing sports. They can help cushion a sudden impact and is a great choice for all school sports as well as outdoor activities such as snowboarding, rock climbing, etc. Remember any dental injury prevented can protect your child from dental problems in the future. So, make sure your child wears a mouthguard if he/she plays sports or if they are a part of an activity wherein their mouth is at the risk of impact.
- Sweet Medicine
Kids medicines are often sugary and flavoured and can stick to the teeth leading to cavities. Children having medication for chronic conditions like heart problems and asthma also have a high tooth decay rate. Plus, some medication for asthma can cause an overgrowth of candida – a yeast – leading to fungal infection. Therefore, consult with the dentist to understand how often a child should brush their teeth if they are taking medications for the long term.
To sum up how to take care of a child’s teeth ensure to set up a dental routine of brushing twice a day and flossing once. Don’t miss your kids 6-month dental check-up appointments. Make sure they eat healthily and avoid sugary foods and drinks. Also, kids should be hydrated at all times and use a mouthguard while playing sports. Follow these dental care tips for kids and if you have any query, schedule an appointment today!