“Teaching your child oral care at an early age is an investment for a lifetime. “
Proper oral care is important to prevent tooth decay. According to the Australian institute of health and welfare nearly half of children aged 5-6 years had a history of dental decay in their baby teeth. Likewise nearly half of children aged 12 years had a history of decay in the permanent teeth.
Here are 8 ways you can help keep your children’s teeth and gums healthy:
- Start early. Even before your baby’s teeth erupt, you can gently clean and massage the gums using a clean soft washcloth or a soft baby toothbrush.
- Prevent ” Baby Bottle Tooth Decay”. Never put your infant to sleep with a bottle of juice, formula or milk. During sleep, the baby’s flow of saliva decreases – this allows harmful sugary liquids to remain around the teeth and cause an acid attack leading to dental decay.
- Don’t let your toddler walk around the whole day with a sippy cup – unless they only contain water.
- Brush your child’s teeth twice a day, two minutes each time, with a kid’s fluoride containing toothpaste. When they get their first adult tooth around the age of 6-7 they can start using adult toothpaste. It is recommended using just a smear of toothpaste for children younger than 3 years old and a pea-size amount for children between 3-6 years old.
- Floss your child’s teeth daily to prevent plaque build-up in areas toothbrushes can’t reach. Start flossing as soon as two of your child’s teeth touch.
- Ensure your child maintain’s a healthy, nutritious and well-balanced diet that limits sugary foods or refined carbohydrates. Limit the consumption of juice to meal times only. Also avoid too many soft drinks as they contain excess amounts of sugar that can lead to tooth decay.
- Bring your baby to see a dentist as soon as the first tooth comes out and no later than their first birthday. It is recommended they have an orthodontic assessment by the age of seven years old. Early orthodontic intervention can improve your child’s facial development and guide your child’s teeth and jaws into more favourable positions. See also Orthodontics and Facial growth.