Dental Care for Children
As a parent, it is your responsibility to look after all aspects of your child’s care until they are able to manage for themselves. Establishing great oral hygiene routines are one habit that your child can take through to adulthood with them. Not only will following a robust daily dental care program ensure that your kid has the healthiest and most beautiful teeth possible, but it can also go a long way to supporting their general wellbeing. This is because poor oral health has been linked to the development of a number of serious health problems, including dementia, heart disease, diabetes and even stroke.
By teaching your child the importance of proper dental care, you can help them to preserve their natural smile and enjoy long-term health and happiness. To help you get started, here is our guide to dental care for children.
Brushing is the single most important aspect of dental care, regardless of what age you are. Brushing helps to remove food debris and bacteria that have accumulated on the teeth and gums before they can cause decay or damage. However, effective toothbrushing requires manual dexterity, concentration and a practised hand, and most children require supervision when brushing until around the age of 12.
The age at which babies get their first teeth can vary enormously, but you can start brushing them as soon as they make an appearance. Use a special baby toothbrush – these normally fit over the finger and have soft bristles for gentle cleaning. Only a very small amount of mild toothpaste should be used.
As your child gets older, they will start to lose their infant teeth, and they will be replaced by their final, adult ones. When this happens, there may be lots of unusual gaps between, in front and behind teeth, so you may want to follow your child’s clean with a special ‘extra’ one, to ensure no areas have been missed!
- Your child should still brush twice a day – once in the morning and once before bed.
- Opt for a toothbrush with a small brush head. This will be easier to manoeuvre in your child’s mouth.
- Brush in a logical, repeating pattern. If you brush in the same way every time, your child will find it easier to replicate your pattern, which will help ensure that no teeth get missed.
- Pay special attention to the area where the teeth meet the gums – this is where plaque is most likely to develop.
- Use a stopwatch or timer to ensure that your child brushes for the recommended two minutes.
Although the right nutrition is important for your child’s general health, it is just as important for his him to develop strong teeth. Whole foods are almost always the best source of the vitamins and minerals needed for dental health, while processed or convenience foods often contain higher levels of sugar, which is bad for your teeth. Calcium is especially important for your child’s teeth, and you should make sure your child is getting a reasonable amount of this crucial nutrient every day.
Keep snacking to a minimum, and if your child does need something to eat between meals, choose a non-sugary, natural treat such as some cheese, fruit or vegetable sticks.
You should also be careful with the amount of fruit juice you give your child. Although the sugars are natural, they can still cause decay and the acid can erode their teeth. Carbonated drinks are also far from idea. Instead, wherever possible, encourage your kids to choose water as their preferred source of hydration!
Visiting our dentist
Regular visits to our dentist are an essential part of the dental care you should be providing for your child. Our dentist has the equipment, access and experience to be able to thoroughly check your child’s teeth for any signs that dental problems may be developing. This is important, as the sooner any problems are identified, the earlier treatment can be started – often before painful symptoms are experienced, and before the expenses associated with the problem spiral out of control.
As your child gets older and the adult teeth come in, it may be necessary for him to be referred for an orthodontic brace. The design of braces has evolved tremendously over the last few decades, and they are now much more discreet than they were previously. Your child may even be able to choose which color brace they would like to put in place. Contrary to popular belief, braces aren’t only for improving the appearance of his smile. In addition, braces can close the gaps between teeth, helping to keep them healthier and reducing the likelihood that your kid will develop periodontal disease.
Get your child used to visiting our dentist from an early age and they will soon feel perfectly at home having their teeth examined. Contact us for further information.