Top 10 tips for your Children’s Dental Health

Child smiling and jumping whilst looking at the camera against a bright orange background

February is Children’s Dental Health Month, which means it’s time to focus on children’s dentistry and make sure they know the importance of looking after their teeth and gums. 

We’ve put together some quick 10 tips to help parents and guardians instil good habits and healthy smiles to their children this month (and every month).

Get them used to the dentist early

Have you ever thought about how visiting the dentist might feel to a martian? The sounds, the clinical environment, and the smells are an odd sensation when bundled together. However, early visits help in familiarising children with the dental office environment, reducing anxiety and fear associated with dental visits in the future. It also allows the dentist to detect potential issues early and advise parents on proper oral care techniques for their children.

Use fluoride toothpaste

Just like for adults, fluoride plays a vital role in strengthening tooth enamel and preventing cavities for children. For children under three years, a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste is recommended, while a pea-sized amount is suitable for children aged three to six. This helps in providing the necessary fluoride protection without the risk of them taking in too much toothpaste.

Supervise their brushing

Supervision is key to ensuring children brush their teeth properly. For all you know, they could be holding the brush end and using the handle (which won’t be comfortable!) Up until the age of 8 or 9, children may not have the manual dexterity to brush their teeth effectively. Parents can help by guiding their children’s hands to teach them the correct technique, making sure they brush for at least two minutes, twice a day, covering all surfaces of the teeth.

Have them drink plenty of water

Water is the best drink for maintaining oral health. It helps wash away food particles and residues that cavity-causing bacteria feed on. If you want to add an even further benefit, fluoridated water also provides an additional benefit by helping to remineralise teeth.

Wear mouthguards for sports

For children engaged in any form of sport, especially contact sports, wearing a mouthguard is essential in protecting their teeth, lips, and gums from injury. So before you send them out for their hockey club, you might want to consider looking into custom-fitted mouthguards from a dentist. That will offer the best protection and comfort.

Stop thumb sucking early on

Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for children, but if it continues beyond the age of four, it can lead to misaligned teeth, bite problems, or changes in the roof of the mouth. Encouraging children to stop thumb sucking through positive reinforcement and providing alternatives can help prevent these dental issues.

Limit sugary snacks and drinks

You knew it was coming! Sugar is one of the main culprits behind cavities. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar from snacks and drinks, producing acids that attack tooth enamel. Limiting sugary foods and beverages, and opting for healthier snacks like fruits, vegetables, and cheese can significantly reduce the risk of cavities.

Use a soft-bristled brush

Father showing daughter tooth brushing techniques

Soft-bristled toothbrushes are recommended for children as they are gentle on the gums and effective in removing plaque. Replacing the toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed, ensures that the toothbrush continues to clean effectively. 

Say cheese!

As mentioned above, eating cheese and other dairy products not only provides calcium, which is essential for strong teeth and bones, but it also helps neutralise the acids in the mouth, reducing the risk of tooth decay (I will definitely be using this excuse next time there’s a cheeseboard on the menu)! Encouraging children to include dairy products in their diet can contribute positively to their dental health.

Educate them on the importance of dental health

Educating children about the importance of dental health helps them understand why they need to take care of their teeth and gums. This can be done through books, videos, and interactive apps designed to make learning about dental health fun and engaging. Setting a good example by practising good oral hygiene habits yourself can reinforce the importance of dental health – so make sure to book your own checkups every 6 months as well! 

At Regent Dental Centre, our staff will try our very best to ensure your child feels relaxed during their trip and also inform you about your child’s teeth. Get in touch today to book your consultation.

Website last updated: April 2024

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