The earlier you begin good dental practice with your children the better. You may not think that it’s that important in the earlier days but if you develop good habits with them then they will continue them as it is normal to them and doesn’t feel like you are trying to introduce something that they have to think too much about. Strong healthy teeth will give them a good start, help with their confidence and will have an overall positive effect on their health and wellbeing. Riverside Dental Practice is happy to help with some tips for your children’s dental care.
Practice good oral hygiene
A good oral hygiene programme begins with regular brushing – first thing in the morning and last thing at night. A healthy diet is also vital for the upkeep of teeth and gums. Visiting your local dentist to have a check up and clean should also be on your list, so that your child doesn’t develop a fear of the dentist. Riverside Dental Practice also recommends the following steps to look after your children’s teeth:
- Don’t allow sugary food and drinks
Introducing sugary drinks into your child’s diet is starting a bad habit that could continue their whole life. Whenever you put something sugary in your mouth, it doesn’t just cause immediate damage but lingers for around an hour, causing harm. So, anytime you give your children a sugary drink or sweet you launch an attack on their little teeth.
Of course, some sweet treats might creep into their diet so there are other rules you can follow to reduce harm. Don’t give your child anything sugary near their bedtime. This can actually be quite detrimental as if they go to brush their teeth whilst the sugar is still in their mouth, the sugar can weaken the enamel and they will brush away some of it. Saliva flow also reduces when we sleep, so sugar can remain in the mouth for hours after bedtime.
Fruit juices are also sugary, so try and stick to still water and milk wherever possible. Avoid anything else, but if you absolutely must give them juice then serve it with a meal.
- Make brushing teeth a fun activity
If you don’t treat brushing your teeth as a chore, then your child won’t. Let them choose their own toothbrush when you go shopping. Encourage them to choose their favourite cartoon character to brush with or pick bright, colourful brushes with animals on them. There are also some toothpastes that look appealing to children, and this can be another easy way to get your child interested in it.
You can set up a rewards chart for them to brush morning and night. There are a number of apps available now where children can brush along to their favourite songs. Instill a habit that will stand to them over time. It’s recommended that you supervise children whilst brushing until at least seven years of age.
- Start early
Encouraging healthy habits early will mean that they take hold. As soon as their baby teeth begin to appear, clean their teeth morning and evening so that they get used to the feel of toothbrush in their mouth. At the start it may just be a clean cloth wrapped around your finger but then you can introduce a baby toothbrush.
Take them to a dentist surgery early too, even if just to join you for a check up. This will familiarise them with the strange environment.
When their own teeth come in, make sure they visit the dentist as often as recommended.