Hygiene habits form at a very young age, so it is more important now than ever to educate your children about oral health habits they can retain for life. It is crucial that your child starts visiting the dentist early in their life to prevent dental-related issues from arising. Here are some important things to remember when considering dental care within a child’s development.
Caring for Babies’ Teeth
For children aged 0-18 months, do not use toothpaste – only use water to brush their teeth. Selecting a toothbrush that is child-appropriate is also extremely important, and a small head with soft bristles is ideal.
To clean your baby’s teeth, place them in an upright position and use soft, circular motions with the appropriate toothbrush. Also ensure to clean the gums, lifting their lips to ensure each part of the gums is cleaned.
Visiting the dentist
Technically, once teeth start coming through in your child’s mouth you may begin taking them to the dentist. Parents should evaluate this when the child turns 1 if teeth are not immediately apparent. Creating a good relationship with your dental team is fundamental in this stage and will permit your child a positive outlook on their future dental visits.
Regular visits are essential once children begin going to the dentist – as this will allow the dental team to monitor development, cleanliness, oral function, and if necessary, provide advice on areas to improve.
Dental checks for children
By the time they turn two, children should have an oral health check. This can be performed by a dentist or health professional such as a maternal health nurse or doctor.
Keeping your child’s teeth clean
Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste that is suitable for children. Using small, circular motions and cleaning teeth after eating in the evening will help strengthen the teeth and prevent decay. Also, ensure to replace your child’s toothbrush every 3-4 months, or when the bristles are visibly frayed or worn.
Not all children will enjoy brushing at first, but once they are around 8 years old it is a good idea to encourage your child to learn how to brush their own teeth. Be sure to supervise toothbrushing for the first few months, but this skill should weave its way into bedtime routine before too long. Also, encourage the process of flossing to keep their teeth and gums in good condition.
Encourage healthy eating habits to prevent the build-up of plaque on your child’s teeth. Advise your child to stay away from sugary foods and drinks and instead eat a balanced diet of nutritious, healthy foods. If uncertain of plaque build-up, check your child’s mouth regularly for any early signs of tooth decay or damage.