Not only does maintaining your child’s oral health from a young age develop good oral hygiene habits for the future, but it also helps them to avoid pain in the mouth and be more confident with a great smile. By instilling habits now such as good brushing technique, regular teeth cleaning and eating sugary foods in moderation, you will save your child (and your bank account!) from complex dental treatments that come as a result of poor oral hygiene.
Tips for looking after your child’s oral health
Getting children enthusiastic about their own oral health can be challenging and trying to develop a good brushing technique is almost impossible at such a young age. One way to encourage brushing is to let your children choose their own toothbrush. It may be in their favourite colour or have their favourite character on it, either way it is important that their toothbrush stimulates them and helps them to get excited about brushing. Children should be brushing their teeth for two minutes twice a day: in the morning and in the evening, just before they go to bed. Songs, rewards and games can help to instil this routine in them and motivate them to stick to it. Before long brushing will become a natural step in their morning and night routines and you won’t even need to remind them!
- Fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride toothpaste can reconstruct weakened enamel on your child’s teeth, as fluoride attracts minerals to the damaged area, which helps to reduce future bacteria growth. Fluoride toothpaste is advisable to children over the age of three, as they are at an age where they know to spit toothpaste out after use and only a pea sized blob is necessary. One way to encourage the use of fluoride toothpaste among children would be to give them the freedom to choose the flavour of toothpaste. By involving your child in the selection process, they are less likely to be against the idea.
The use of dental floss is a necessary addition to your child’s dental routine, once they have mastered the basics of brushing and using toothpaste. By not flossing, plaque can accumulate around the teeth and on the gum line. As such, it is vital that floss is used, as it reaches these places inaccessible to a toothbrush.
The consumption of sugary foods puts children at high risk for cavities. These are holes that form in your teeth and can occur due to a build-up of bacteria and acid from sugary food and drinks. While a reward scheme to maintain oral hygiene can be useful, it is important not to offer sweets or sugary snacks as rewards as this is counterproductive and creates an uphill battle in your child’s fight against cavities and other oral problems. Growing up accustomed to sweet treats on a regular basis is also not a good idea, as it will become a habit that is difficult to kick as they grow older.
Instead, instilling a diet consisting mainly of vitamins, minerals, fresh fruit and vegetables is essential to maintaining your child’s oral health, as is helping them to develop a well-rounded knowledge of the food groups and how they affect oral hygiene. This knowledge will help to set your child up for independent life as they themselves will be able to make informed decisions about what to eat and know what is best for the health of their mouth. Three filling meals and two snacks every day is recommendable for children, so as to avoid constant snacking, which is where most sugar comes from!
- No thumb sucking
During your child’s formative years there are a variety of factors that can affect the shaping and alignment of their teeth, such as thumb sucking, accidents or premature loss of milk teeth. This can lead to crooked, overlapping or overcrowded teeth and a bad bite.
- See a dentist
It is important for your child to see a dentist at least once every 6 months. In such formative years, the appearance of their mouths is always changing, and as such it is imperative that they receive professional help to keep up with the ever-changing nature of paediatric oral development. Visiting from a young age will also make your child more comfortable with the idea of going to the dentist regularly, as it can often be something very daunting, especially for young children.
Here at Moonz, we specialise in paediatric dentistry and can count of years of experience to provide your child with the perfect service for them. Contact us by phone on (+34)916585089 and for emergencies we are available on (+34)687295092.