I hear a lot of comments from my adult patients expressing a wish that they looked after their teeth better when they were younger, and a lot of them say that they were simply never informed about what the right things to do were. Some even blame their parents, as they never taught them the importance of looking after their teeth. As teeth are such an important aspect of someone’s life, we decided to write an article so that you do not make the same mistakes for your children. To get the most benefit from dental care for your children, use these six ways to promote healthy dental habits. The earlier you adopt these tips – the better!
1. As soon as the baby teeth arrive – start to brush them!
It is important to start brushing with a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste as soon as baby teeth start coming through. This way the teeth get the benefit of fluoride and your child will start getting used to brushing from a very young age.
2. Always use fluoride toothpaste
Fluoride is great for your teeth and totally safe to use – just make sure you use an age-appropriate toothpaste.
3. Establish good dietary habits early on in life
Studies show that the type of food we eat when growing up is closely linked to the type of food we consume when we are older. That is why is it so important to instill a good, healthy, well balanced diet right from the start. Regarding sugary foodstuffs, keep these to a minimum (as a treat only) and only offer them at mealtimes. For snacks in between meals – try and stick to non-sugary stuff like crisps, sandwiches, cheese, and vegetables.
4. Drink more water and avoid cordial/squash
I see many toddlers and teenagers that are almost addicted to cordial/squash and they would not even dream of drinking plain water. These situations may have arisen when parents are too lenient and allow their children to drink squash/cordial, as it is easier to get them to drink that rather than water. They then get into a habit of it and carry that throughout their lives, causing irreversible damage to their teeth. Some parents do not know that there is so much sugar in squash/cordial and therefore, have no idea what damage it is causing to their children. Many of the main brands also advertise the drinks as “No added sugar” which is grossly misleading, as people often think its sugar free.
5. Make brushing fun
Try not to label tooth brushing time as a chore that your children must do. Instead make it fun and make a game out of it. Use a reward system where they can place stickers on a calendar to show how many stars they can collect and then bring it in to show the dentist. Have a little timer as well so that they know they must brush for a minimum of two minutes twice a day. The most important time to brush is last thing at night and then at one other time during the day.
6. Choose a good friendly dentist and establish a relationship relationship
Picking a good family dentist plays an essential part in achieving oral health goals for your family. Pick an experienced dentist who is likely to stay at the same dental practice for many years, as it is not nice for the children to keep seeing different dentists all the time. Once your family is comfortable at a dental practice, and they do a good job – try to stick with them.
The team here at Sensational Smiles are friendly, approachable and love working with all our junior patients. Don’t just take our word for it, listen to what some of our customers say about us.