We use our teeth every day. They’re a massive part of our lives. Most of the time we don’t even think about them – but fixing or replacing one can be extremely costly.
Since it’s better to prevent the problem from arising, than deal with it when it does, we have collected some of the best tips to help keep your child’s teeth healthy and limit any issues they may develop. Here are our top 9 tips for keeping your kids’ teeth nice and healthy.
Not only does starting early help to eliminate any future problems, but it also teaches your child the importance of keeping their teeth and mouth clean. It’s recommended that you begin before your baby’s teeth start to come through. You can run a soft, clean and damp cloth over your baby’s gums in order to wipe away any bacteria that may have built up during the day. Alternatively, you can use TeethingWipes, for a more sterile and soothing solution.
Just because the teeth haven’t come through, doesn’t mean that they aren’t developed. If you don’t keep your baby gums clean, bacteria can affect the teeth even before they come through, leading to problems later in life.
Use soft bristles
Babies and small children are very delicate. Using a hard-bristled brush may damage their teeth and gums. Instead, when their teeth begin to come through, try using a soft brush to gently clean away without causing any distress.
When you move onto toothbrushes, you should also begin using small amounts of a child-friendly toothpaste. This should be no bigger than a grain of rice.
Brush twice daily
Just like adults, kids need to brush twice a day too. Doing this regularly will help them develop the habit, and keep brushing well throughout their lives.
Brushing twice benefits the teeth, because harmful bacteria and plaque builds up both throughout the day and night. By brushing in the morning and evening, you are limiting the amount of time that bacteria has to multiply around the teeth and gums.
Brush for 2-3 minutes
While for adults, we can get away with two minutes, this is a minimum for children. Remember that because young children are a lot softer, you need to be more delicate when you brush their teeth. This can mean taking longer than two minutes, just to make sure everything is cleaned properly.
Use a child-friendly mouthwash/rinse
Not to be used by children under six years of age. Mouthwash can be used by children aged 6-12, and is recommended for teenagers. A mouthwash or mouth rinse is designed to help maintain their oral hygiene.
Unlike most adult mouthwash, the kid-friendly ones do not contain alcohol. Provided your child is able to spit all of the mouthwash out, it will be safe for them to use. It’s best to get them to practice with water first, just to be on the safe side.
If teenagers are in a rush, and don’t realise the importance, they may contemplate using mouthwash in favour of brushing. It’s important to not do this. Mouthwash is used alongside bushing, not instead of it.
Don’t indulge on sugary foods
Chocolates, sweets, sugary drinks. In large quantities, all of these things are extremely bad for your child’s teeth. If you want to treat your child every now and again, that’s absolutely fine. If it’s something they’re having a lot of, however, it can be detrimental to the health of their teeth.
If they do have high-sugar foods, it’s important to brush their teeth shortly afterwards, to avoid a build-up of sugars which can allow bacteria and plaque to form.
Teach them how to floss (and we don’t mean the dance)
When your child has two teeth next to each other (around 2-3 years), that is the time to begin flossing. This is usually between the ages of two and three. Flossing is very important as it can remove plaque, bits of food, polish the tooth, and help stop bad breath.
Flossing every day for 2-3 minutes is one of the best ways to maintain good dental hygiene. There are several different ways to floss, and your child’s dentist will be able to show you how to floss effectively. Take a small piece of floss, and gently work it between two teeth.
Brush their tongue
This may sound like a strange suggestion at first. There is actually a lot of bacteria on the tongue, some of which is responsible for causing bad breath. Brushing your tongue after your teeth can help clear this away, but also prevent any bacteria from spreading from your tongue back to the rest of your mouth.
Take them to the dentist
All of this information is designed to help, but it’s no match for a dentist’s advice. Take your child to see the dentist (preferably a paediatric one) before their first birthday. Your early visits can help find any problems your child may have, and provide you with easy solutions. With sustained visits, your child should become used to the dentist, and feel comfortable there.
The dentist may recommend regular check-ups in order to monitor the growth of your child’s teeth, or provide suggestions you may not have considered (such as a particular toothbrush or toothpaste your child may prefer).
We hope that these 9 tips help you to keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy. There is little more important than dental health, and now you are equipped to protect it.