Oral health is so important and, in fact, has a direct link to overall health. Which is why teaching kids about caring for their teeth and gums in their early years is key. As a practice, Molars dental prides itself in focusing on preventive dentistry when it comes to children. Below are some oral hygiene tips you can apply to keep away those cavities, and other oral challenges that may come up in future.
1. Encourage Kids to Brush Their Teeth Twice a Day
Have kids brush their teeth with a child-sized toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, in the morning and before bed. Use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, as soon as your baby gets their first tooth, and then increase this to a pea-size amount at age three.
Teach children a proper tooth brushing technique and let them try to have a go at brushing on their own once they have the dexterity. Supervise kids’ teeth brushing until about age eight or once you feel confident they’re doing a great job. In addition to having kids brush their teeth twice a day, be sure they’re brushing for two minutes each session.
Making oral hygiene fun for kids
- Make up a routine that works well for your kids and have them stick to it each day. Below is a direct link you can download the toothbrush chart, print it, and place it in their rooms. https://bit.ly/3tjf93T. (Let’s share this with others as a way of promoting oral health).
- Create a fun brushing song. Just change the lyrics of your child’s favourite nursery rhymes to teach brushing or simply to make the activity enjoyable for the little one. A good song that a lot of dentists recommend is “Brush, Brush, Brush Your Teeth” which is sung to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”
- Reward good oral hygiene habits. When you children do great at brushing or flossing (or do it at all) come up with a reward system.
- Buy cute toothbrushes and/flosses. There are so many of these created by dental hygiene companies; they come in fun colours and shapes. These will surely get your child excited about brushing/flossing.
- Show them how it’s done. Kids look up to their parents and are fascinated by what they do – be a good example to your child and show him/her that you brush & floss regularly.
2. Floss Once a Day
Flossing is another key to oral health for kids (and adults). Flossing gets rid of the plaque between the teeth and along and under the gum line that can’t be reached with a toothbrush. Plaque build-up due to a lack of effective brushing and flossing is one of the leading causes of tooth decay in children, so make flossing a priority! While you can have kids floss their teeth at any time, doing it at night before brushing the teeth will ensure all of the food debris, bacteria, and plaque from the day will hit the road.
3. Rinse After Eating
There’s no need to have kids brush their teeth after every meal and snack (unless they’re in braces treatment). However, rinsing with water after eating or drinking is a great idea. It’s like a bath for the teeth and will wash away food debris and bacteria thus maintaing good oral health.
4. Offer a Well-Rounded, Healthy Diet That’s Light on Sugary Drinks and Treats
The bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and starches and when they do, they release acids that eat away at the tooth enamel. Eventually, holes, or cavities, form in the teeth. That’s why a diet high in sugar and starches is another of the common causes of tooth decay in children. Enjoy sugary treats, sticky foods and simple carbohydrates like crisps and white bread in moderation. Certain beverages, such as soda, are sugar-filled and acidic, which is doubly harmful for enamel, so have little ones avoid them as much as possible.
Instead, encourage kids to eat a healthy diet with lean proteins, colourful fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and adequate calcium for teeth, whether in the form of low-fat dairy or dairy substitutes that have added calcium. Fresh fruits and vegetables (i.e., apples and carrots) have the added benefit of scraping away plaque as kids eat them. Lastly, serve water as your child’s main drink and source of hydration.
5. Schedule Regular Visits With Your Paediatric Dentist
A paediatric dentist is a dentist just for kids. Molars Dental Practice has trained in children’s oral health needs, as well as behavioural techniques to help kids relax and feel at ease. Plus, our practice itself is has special dental rooms designed just for kids, it has fun perks like child-themed rooms and, a play area just for them at our Lenana branch.
During regular exams, we make sure your child’s dental and facial development are on track, check for cavities and other concerns, determine if their teeth and gums are healthy and evaluate any oral habits. If we do spot problems, we can jump in early while they’re easier to treat. We also educate parents and help kids develop an excellent homecare routine to help maintain their oral hygiene.
At paediatric dental check-ups, we perform professional dental cleanings for kids too. The hygienist uses special tools to remove hardened plaque (tartar) that can’t be eliminated at home. We’ll usually finish up with a fluoride treatment. These preventative measures further reduce the risk of tooth decay in children and help maintain oral hygiene.
6. Don’t Put Off Necessary Dental Work on Baby Teeth
When a child has tooth decay, it won’t get better on its own. We’ve had a lot of parents ask why baby teeth need fillings, or other restorations when they’re going to fall out anyway. First and foremost, if not treated, a cavity will continue to grow and can cause infection and/or affect the underlying permanent tooth. Second, cavities are very painful, which isn’t just unpleasant but can also make it hard for kids to concentrate in school.
Eventually, if tooth decay in children does lead to infection, in severe cases, that will mean losing the tooth or needing a baby root canal /extraction.
Your best bet for avoiding things like tooth loss, baby root canals, and, extractions altogether is to seek treatment for baby teeth with cavities as soon as possible. Treatment will be much easier and less invasive the earlier a cavity is caught. Sometimes, we can even reverse early decay.
7. Embrace Fluoride
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that binds to the tooth’s structure making your child’s teeth more resistant to the cavity-causing acids attacks from plaque. In young children, fluoride actually gets incorporated into the permanent teeth for long-term benefits. While too much fluoride can lead to fluorosis, too little fluoride makes kids more susceptible to tooth decay.
These are seven of the ways kids can improve their oral health. If you’re looking for a dentist just for kids, schedule a visit at Molars Dental Practice. Our paediatric dental specialists will work with you to help your child achieve a strong, healthy smile for life!