8 Tips to Help Ensure Good Oral Health for Kids
Australia has seen a rise in tooth decay amongst little ones, with over 50% of 6-year-olds showing signs of deterioration.
Humans are creatures of habits, and habits developed early on in life tend to stick with us for the long run.
We only get one permanent set of teeth. Therefore, dental health is imperative! And there’s no better time to instill the importance of good oral health into your kids than whilst they are well, kids!
As your Cabramatta children’s dentists, we have put together a list of tips to help ensure children’s good oral health.
Baby Teeth Vs. Adult Teeth
Taking care of your child’s teeth starts as early as the teething stages. A baby’s first teeth can emerge anywhere between the 6 and 12-month-old mark. Usually, by 3 years old, all baby teeth are present.
Of course, ‘baby teeth’ are all replaceable. But unhealthy baby teeth can damage the permanent teeth below them.
Between the ages of 5 and 6, baby teeth start to fall out, and their permanent adult counterparts come through. The process of developing adult teeth, except for third molars (wisdom teeth), is usually complete by 12.
Your child should have an excellent dental hygiene routine by now. The list below will give you an idea of what it should include.
Tips for Kid’s Oral Health
#1. Brush Teeth and Gumline Twice Daily
Brushing teeth is important in removing the plaque that causes decay on both our primary and adult teeth. When teeth are brushed in your child’s mouth, they should be brushed!
Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. All tooth and gum surfaces should be gently brushed in a circular motion after breakfast and before bed.
Generally, children cannot brush their teeth until they have the skill to tie their shoelaces. Once they have the talent needed to do a good job, adult supervision is still recommended for younger children.
#2. Flossing Is a Must
When your child has two teeth side by side, the time has come to start flossing. This normally takes place from the age of 2 onwards. Note, flossing help is required for a while! Brushing your child’s teeth twice daily removes a lot of dental plaque. But not all of it.
Flossing helps get to those hard-to-reach places under gums and between teeth. An excellent habit for children to develop early on!
#3. Use A Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally. It is found in water, soil, rocks, veggies and grains. Fluoride is crucial in preventing decay and can be supplemented in toothpaste.
Advertising has romanticised toothpaste use, slathering huge mountains of toothpaste onto toothbrushes. But only a pea-sized amount should (ever) be used.
Children should be encouraged to spit out the toothpaste after brushing and refrain from rinsing.
Whilst the lack of rinsing is encouraged, ingesting large amounts of fluoride toothpaste should be avoided. Before your child can spit, keep the fluoride toothpaste low or opt for a low-fluoride option.
#4. Limit Sweet, Sugary Drinks
Children’s primary teeth have weak enamel. This makes them more susceptible. Sweet drinks, specifically soft drinks and fruit juice, play a large role in tooth decay.
Drinks like fruit juice and sodas with ‘no added sugar’ can also contribute to decay. They contain natural sugars and acids that damage teeth.
These drinks should be limited, even if good dental hygiene routines exist.
#5. Drink Tap Water Over Bottled Water
Sydney’s water comes from natural sources and is safe to drink. It undergoes high-standard filtering as per the Australian Water Guidelines. Fluoride levels are low in our environment, so it’s added in additional amounts to our tap water to help protect our teeth.
But this isn’t the case with store-bought bottled water. Bottlers rarely add fluoride to their products.
During the 1960s, fluoride was not added to any water supply. Decay was widespread. Having your child drink only bottled water means they miss water fluoridation benefits.
#6. Consume Healthy Food and Avoid Snacking
Like drinks high in sugar, foods high in sugar lead to tooth decay and should be moderated.
Your child should enjoy a diet that consists of all the food groups. Fresh fruit and veggies are an essential part of healthy development. And cheese, yoghurt and milk are great sources of calcium.
Our teeth are most vulnerable to decay when the PH level in our mouth drops below normal (7.0). Eating and drinking (beverages other than water) lower the PH level in mouths for a period. So, it’s best to keep your child’s eating to 3 or 4 mealtimes. Avoid constant snacking throughout the day.
It’s easiest to develop good eating habits in early childhood. Packing healthy, nutritious lunch boxes for your child gives them the best chance at forming these habits. Not rewarding good behaviour with ‘bad’ foods is another way to do this.
#7. Make Regular Visits to Your Local Oral Health Professional
When your baby gets their first tooth, regular trips to the dentist should begin. This helps with the early detection of any dental problems, including decay. Most issues, if caught early on, are treatable.
It is beneficial for children to get to know their local dentist. Your oral health professionals at Cabramatta Dental Care can develop a dental plan for your child based on their needs.
Growing up with a ‘fear of the dentist is common. But it is avoidable.
Here are a few things that help make your child’s trips to the dentist positive:
- Explain why regular trips to the dentist are important to keep one healthy
- Talk positively about your dental experiences in front of children
- Highlight new and interesting elements of visiting the dentist
- Don’t use a trip to the dentist as a threat. For example, “if you don’t brush your teeth, you’re going to have to go to the dentist!”.
#8. Use a Mouth Guard in Contact Sports or Activities
A mouthguard is a good idea when your child participates in school sports and activities involving contact. Mouthguards help protect your child’s mouth from injury. Custom-fitted ones are best.
Your child’s mouth will develop and change over time, for example, when permanent teeth emerge. Mouthguards should be replaced accordingly. Your oral health care professional can assess the fit at your child’s regular dental visits.
Maintaining children’s good oral hygiene encourages optimal dental development. It also protects them from infection and discomfort. Keeping kids’ mouths clean and healthy is easy if you familiarise yourself with these tips.
Creating good dental habits for your child early on in life is essential. A good relationship with a health professional as a child will benefit long-term dental health.
As your family dentist in Cabramatta, we have been part of the community for a long time. We have seen some patients, from toddlers to university students and beyond! Our friendly team of professionals are here to make your child’s trip to the dentist a pleasant one.
If you have questions about your child’s dental health or want to book them for a check-up, we’d love to hear from you!
Children’s Dentistry in Cabramatta Dental Care
Our team at Cabramatta Dental Care takes a gentle and meticulous approach to looking after our patients. We always prioritise your child’s comfort while providing the highest quality dental care.
Our Cabramatta dentists work hard to ensure that your child can relax and enjoy their visit with us.
Child Dental Benefits Schedule in Cabramatta Dental Care
Bulk Bill for eligible children
Up to $1,052 worth of dental treatments for two years
Visit your Cabramatta dentist today!
Same-Day Dental Emergency Appointment Available in Cabramatta Dental Care
We are located at 47 Arthur St in Cabramatta.