Children’s oral health impacts on their general health. Alarmingly, data shows that tooth decay is on the rise in Australia, landing over 25,000 children under the age of 15 in hospital every year. Good dental health for kids can help protect children against complications such as infections, cavities and pain, hence it is important to teach them healthy habits from a young age.
Today we discuss dental health for kids and offer five child dental care tips.
1. Teach good habits
The best way to prevent oral health problems down the line is to practise good dental health for kids at an early age. It is important to take care of your baby’s mouth even before teeth appear, brushing the gums gently or running a damp, clean washcloth over them. When the first tooth appears you can begin brushing softly with fluoridated toothpaste (after 17 months) and flossing can commence as soon as two of the teeth touch each other.
A good child dental care tip is making brushing and flossing twice a day a fun habit. As they get older encourage your children to take care of their teeth by trying different flavours of toothpaste, making up songs or even playing games together.
2. Limit or avoid sugary drinks and foods
What affects children’s oral health? Sugar of course! Sugar strips away the enamel and can lead to a condition called ‘bottle mouth’ in babies. Additionally, sugar causes cavities in growing teeth and should be avoided in order to have healthy gums.
3. Encourage a “tooth healthy” diet
Have you ever wondered what impact will poor diet have on children’s oral health? Eating calcium-rich foods such as broccoli, dairy and leafy greens is important for strong, healthy teeth. Other vitamins including vitamin D, vitamin B, copper, zinc, iodine, iron and potassium also impact dental health for kids, so make sure your children are consuming a balanced diet and contact your doctor to discuss supplements if you are worried about their nutrition.
4. Keep gums clean
Cleaning your child’s gums is an important child dental care tip even before their first tooth has appeared. Using a soft toothbrush or a damp washcloth helps them get used to the sensation and removes any leftover sugar, preventing ‘bottle mouth’. Healthy gums are crucial to healthy teeth, so don’t neglect them!
5. Use the right toothbrush
As your child grows and develops, you will need to switch their toothbrush to suit their changing needs. When your child’s first teeth start to grow in, it is best to use a small toothbrush designed for infants. These will have softer bristles and be gentle on your baby’s sensitive mouth. You can later move on to a children’s toothbrush and then a normal adult toothbrush when the time is right.