Maintain a good brushing routine
One of the main ways of protecting your children’s mouth, but often one of the hardest to police, is a regular and thorough brushing regime. You should try to ensure that your children are brushing for a minimum of two minutes, twice a day; once in the morning as soon as they wake up and once again before bedtime. Ensuring that their teeth are brushed regularly is really important in stopping the build-up of harmful plaque. Plaque collects where the tooth meets the gums, so make sure that the bristles of their brush reach this area when brushing. Using a toothpaste which contains fluoride will also help as fluoride strengthens your teeth to give extra protection against decay.
Finding the right brush for your children is also important, as an electric brush can be good, but only if used correctly with the right technique. Change their brush regularly; As soon as the bristles become frayed or worn, around every 2-3 months, you should change the manual brush or electric brush head to ensure a comprehensive clean.
Did you know?
You should be brushing your children’s teeth for them until they are able to tie their own shoe laces – otherwise they don’t have the dexterity to reach all the right areas.
When your children are learning to brush, it’s best to do this with a manual toothbrush to learn the right motions and techniques.
Diet is key
Some of the biggest enemies for our children’s teeth are also the most tempting and enjoyed - fizzy drinks and sugary foods contain high levels of acids, which are the main culprits for dissolving the protective outer surface of our teeth; enamel. This is called erosion, and thins out our teeth, causing damage, decay and making them more sensitive and more likely to chip. By avoiding or limiting the prevalence of sugary food and drink your children consume, can significantly help to stop erosion and sensitivity. (When live, link to the diet section in the ‘children’s hygiene hub’)
Wait 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth: This allows time for the pH level in your mouth to be restored, as it becomes more acidic whilst you’re eating. Brushing straight after eating moves all of that acid around your mouth and could cause more damage.
Milk teeth are still important
It’s a common misconception that milk teeth don’t need as much attention as they eventually fall out and make way for adult teeth. Whilst it is true that they fall out, they serve as the base for the adult teeth to push through, or ‘erupt’. If milk teeth aren’t taken care of and fall out too early, or in worse cases, have to be removed, this can cause alignment issues and increase the chances of requiring orthodontic treatment. It’s not just about cavity prevention.
How else can we encourage good dental hygiene
As well as brushing well and maintaining the right diet, it is advised to encourage some good habits from a young age. Normalising a visit to the dentist from a young age will not only make it less daunting, but will mean that a close eye is kept on their oral hygiene. Remember to encourage a ‘spit and not rinse’ philosophy after brushing, so that the fluoride from the toothpaste stays on your teeth for longer. Using a fluoride mouthwash at a different time to brushing can also increase protection against tooth decay.
Did you know?
You should start taking your children to the dentist as soon as they have their first tooth – not only are milk teeth important, but this will promote good habits.
Routine is key to promoting good habits and good oral health, so try to encourage regular dentist visits and developing good food and brushing habits from a young age.