We all know how difficult it can be to get children to do something they don’t want to which is why it is so important that you put in place a good dental health routine with your kids as early as possible. In this blog, we’ll take a look at how you can help establish a good routine for your kids and get them used to dental hygiene. We’ll also give you advice on how to clean their teeth and when your child’s first teeth will appear.
When should my child first visit the dentist?
Most parents assume that they only need to start taking their kids to the dentist when they have a full set of teeth to look after but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that you should take them to the dentist as soon as possible to start getting them used to the noises, smells and surroundings. For most parents, we’d recommend simply bringing them with you when you visit the dentist yourself. By doing this you will help them feel more relaxed when the time comes for their own visit.
When will teeth appear?
For new parents, teething is a difficult time particularly when the first teeth start to come through around the 6-month mark. Gum massages and toys can all help to alleviate some of the discomforts and settle your baby. When their teeth do start making an appearance, you’ll need to start brushing these to keep them clean. Baby or milk teeth should all be in place by the time your child is 30 months old and will then start to be replaced by adult teeth around the age of 6 or 7. Most children will have their adult teeth in place by the time they turn 14.
How to clean your child’s teeth
Until your child is old enough to clean their own teeth, you’ll need to brush their teeth with a toothbrush designed for children and fluoride toothpaste. Brush in small circular movements concentrating on one section at a time. Make brushing their teeth part of their bedtime routine and early morning routine to get them used to this.
As they get older children will be able to brush their own teeth, but it is advisable to supervise their brushing to make sure they do it properly until they are at least 7 years old. A good idea is to brush your own teeth at the same time to help them copy your example, this will also help develop a routine for them.
What toothpaste should I use?
When it comes to children’s teeth you need to ensure you are using a toothpaste which contains fluoride as this will help to protect their teeth. There are many brands on the market to choose from and the ones designed for children have a lower percentage of fluoride, for children under 3 choose a toothpaste with a fluoride level of 1000 ppm and for older kids toothpaste with 1500ppm. Make sure after brushing that they spit out the toothpaste but don’t rinse out their mouth as this will help the fluoride protect their teeth for longer.
How to help prevent tooth decay for children
It isn’t the amount of sugar in our diet that causes tooth decay, it is the frequency it is eaten or drunk. To help minimise tooth decay avoid sugary and acidic foods, drinks and snacks outside of mealtimes. Healthy snacks that are lower in sugar and acids include cheese, vegetables and fresh fruit while fruit juices should be avoided outside of mealtimes.
Remember that it’s not just older children that need help protecting their teeth. Babies need help too, even if they only have a few teeth showing. Try to avoid processed baby foods that are full of sugar, you’d be amazed how much sugar is in some baby foods. Making your own baby food is a great way to control what your baby is eating and is a lot easier than it sounds.