How to help your children care for their teeth
When you have a family, you want to do what is best for them. And, when you have children (particularly young children), it can be hard to get them to engage in their own healthcare. More specifically, the brushing and flossing of their teeth! Sadly, across many countries, tooth decay in children is on the rise and so now, more than ever, is the time to discuss and implement good oral hygiene practices with your children.
And of course, as any Coorparoo family dental team will tell you, the easiest way to do this is to make the entire process fun! In this article, experts in child dental care discuss the best ways to engage your children in their dental care. Enjoy!
Make it a game!
Children love games and if you have more than one child, this process is easier to implement.
You could stick a reward chart on the wall, ask your children to engage in the best brushing competition and of course, there is the use of charts and stickers. If your child or your children brush their teeth twice a day, they get 2 stickers and receive a treat at the end of the week or month. Just ensure that the treat is not too sugary!
Children learn by imitation, and if you and your partner, if you have one, are not engaging in brushing your teeth in the morning and evening, why should your children? And, if you have a child who is under the age of 7, you should be supervising them as they brush their teeth, so this is the perfect opportunity to show them how best to clean their teeth.
Watch their diet
Many parents assume that activities that seem benign, such as the giving of a bottle full of juice or milk at naptime is harmless. But juice and milk both contain sugar and, as your children will not have the opportunity to brush their teeth before they fall asleep, that sugar can pose a real risk to their enamel. If your child wants a bottle to nap with, fill it with water and of course, aim to give them a varied diet, rich in vegetables and low in sugar. If your child has a sweet tooth (most of them do!) be sure to allow them to drink plenty of water alongside sugary foods and aim to minimise their exposure to sugar.
Talk to your dentist
If you are new to parenthood, it can be a bit confusing to know as and when you will need to book your child’s first dental check-up. Or, you may want some help relating to how to introduce your child to brush their teeth. Professional advice and tips from a child dentist are invaluable here and, as many child dental teams will advise you, you should aim to get your child to see their dental team by the time they are 12 months old or by the time their first tooth erupts.
And of course, early exposure to a dental team will ensure that your child is more familiar with the surroundings in a dental surgery and therefore, they will be less likely to develop a phobia later in life. Great!
Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.