Here at Pure Dentistry we are passionate about Children’s dental health.
Preventative dental care is build good dental habits at a young age. Fortunately, the most important elements of dental hygiene are as simple as brushing and flossing your child’s teeth every day. For many parents, this is easier said than done. Most young children are uncomfortable with having their teeth brushed, and even those old enough to brush on their own may resist the routine. However, with patience, time and creativity, you can help your child establish good dental habits to keep their smile bright and shining for many years to come.
You may have heard the phrase ‘taking a preventive approach’ to your dental child’s dental care but what exactly do we mean? Taken literally, preventive dentistry is when we try to prevent problems, such as decay or pain, from starting in the first place.
How can I prevent tooth decay in my child?
The main cause of tooth decay is not the amount of sugar or acid in the diet, but how often it is eaten or drunk. The more often your child has sugary or acidic foods or drinks, the more likely they are to have decay. So it is important to have sugary and acidic foods just at mealtimes. If you want to give your child a snack, try to stick to cheese, vegetables and fruit. Try to limit how much dried fruit you give as it is high in sugar and can stick to the teeth.
Don’t give them drinks containing sugars, including fruit juices, between meals. Give them water or milk instead. For babies, don’t add sugar to their drinks, or to foods when you introduce them to solids.
It is also worth remembering that some processed baby foods contain quite a lot of sugar. Try checking the list of ingredients: the higher up the list sugar is, the more there is in the product. Generally anything ending in ‘ose’ is a sugar, for example: fructose, glucose, lactose or sucrose. Thorough brushing with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night, and at least one other time during the day, will help to prevent tooth decay.
Step 1: Make it Fun!
Have your child pick an electric toothbrush with their favourite cartoon characters. These are made specifically for small, developing mouths and seem more like toys than tools for oral hygiene to a small child.
Pick out several toothpaste flavours to try at home. While paediatric dentists agree toothpaste is not always necessary for toddlers, children may be more cooperative if they like the flavour. Popular flavours include bubble gum, strawberry and sparkle mint.
Step 2: Set a Schedule
Set alarms on a phone or alarm clock to remind your child when it’s time to brush. Consistency is key when establishing habits. Eventually, your child will come to associate brushing their teeth with certain activities, such as getting ready for bed or finishing breakfast.
Step 3: Make Two Minutes Fly By
Brushing teeth should take two full minutes – that’s right: 120 seconds. Our dentists recommend using a favourite song or Apps specially designed to help little ones keep track of the time.
Apps such as Disney Magic Timer and Tooth Savers turn tooth brushing into a game. The Disney Magic Timer rewards kids for brushing longer. Tooth Savers is a fantasy adventure that progresses with each successful tooth brushing session.
Step 4: Don’t Wait until Late at Night
Help your child brush his or her teeth sooner in the evening rather than later. At the end of a long, tiring day, your child may not feel like brushing his or her teeth before bed. This will ensure they are awake and alert enough to notice the routine. It will also prevent them from falling asleep before they brush.
Step 5: Model Good Habits
Synchronize your schedule with your child’s and brush together. Instilling good dental hygiene habits starts with your own routine. When they see you doing it, they’ll be more receptive to trying it themselves.
You can use this time to demonstrate proper techniques. Show your child how to use short, gentle strokes to clean their teeth. Our dentists recommend brushing at a 45-degree angle to target the space between the teeth and gums – this is where germs and bacteria like to hide. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, as well!
We hope to make your child’s experience a happy and relaxed one with educational advice and care.
Dr Keir qualified as a dentist from Dundee University in 1998 and was awarded the class medal in restorative dentistry. Since then she has worked as a Senior House Officer in Newcastle Dental Hospital and furthered her knowledge by working for many prestigious dental practices in the United Kingdom. Born and raised in Harpenden Dr Keir has returned to her roots to bring up her family.