How Do I Ensure Healthy Oral Hygiene for My Child?
Looking after a child’s oral hygiene may seem like a daunting task for many parents. It’s hard enough to manage your own dental hygiene at times, but helping your child develop good habits is extremely important. Essentially, the lessons learned now will benefit them throughout their lives. Let’s explore some effective strategies to help with your child’s oral hygiene.
Starting early is crucial
Oral care begins even before the first tooth appears. It’s crucial to clean your baby’s mouth with a soft, clean cloth after feeding to prevent the growth of bacteria. Once the first tooth emerges, brush with a soft, small toothbrush and a tiny amount of toothpaste. You can even brush your child’s teeth with a clean cloth once they grow. But using a toothbrush early gets your child used to it, and good habits can take root.
Introduction to toothbrushing
As your child grows older, encourage them to take part in toothbrushing. Once your child is able to master a good brushing technique, it’s a good idea to let them do it themselves. Try to make it a fun experience. You can buy toothbrushes with your child’s favourite cartoon characters or even use flavoured toothpaste.
Children should brush their teeth twice a day, just like adults. You’ll likely need to teach them the correct brushing technique, and that’s ok. Encourage them to use small circular motions on the teeth and gums. The key is to reach every surface, and the process should take at least two minutes.
You should supervise your child’s brushing even up to the age of 7 or later if you feel your child needs extra support to brush correctly.
Importance of flossing
While often overlooked, flossing is vital to a child’s oral hygiene. Flossing is just one of the ways to get rid of plaque and stubborn food particles from between the teeth that the toothbrush cannot reach. Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as two teeth touch each other. In Australia, flossing has never been as popular as it is in other countries, but it’s an essential part of dental care that children should be taught about from a young age. Once they get a bit older and can manage the job themselves, you can step aside and just supervise them until they get the hang of it.
Healthy diet for dental health
What your child eats plays a significant role in their oral health. One way to prevent cavities is by limiting sugary foods and drinks. As parents, you can instil good eating habits in your children from an early age. Ensure your children eat a balanced diet that includes vegetables, dairy products and fruit to promote healthy teeth and gums.
It’s worth mentioning that even some healthy foods, such as fruit, can have high sugar content. While this sugar is more natural than the processed sugar in many foods, it can still damage teeth. Your best solution is to ensure children rinse their mouths with water after consuming sugary fruit.
Regular dental checkups
Even with the best dental routine at home, your child still needs regular dental visits to monitor their growth. A Parramatta dental expert can provide professional cleaning, identify any potential issues early, and provide necessary treatments. It’s recommended that your child’s first dental visit be around their first birthday.
No matter your child’s age, these regular checkups are vital. Children may not want to go to the dentist, but they will thank you when they have healthy teeth and gums later in life. In addition to dental treatment, your local dentist offers plenty of education to support your child’s oral health.
Making dental visits positive
Many children, and even adults, have a fear of dental visits. This is perfectly normal, however, the fears are often unfounded. Often, this somewhat illogical fear of the dentist comes from childhood. One bad (or even uncomfortable) experience can lead to a lifetime of apprehension. To overcome this, it’s crucial to make your child’s dental experiences positive.
Choose a Parramatta dental clinic that is child-friendly and where the dental team is experienced in handling children. When it comes down to it, nobody is born afraid of the dentist. Children learn this type of anxiety from parents or bad experiences. So, make dentist visits fun, and your children won’t be so fearful.
Managing tooth decay in children
Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health issues among Australian children. It’s a common myth that you don’t need to worry about baby teeth because they fall out eventually. This couldn’t be further from the truth, because baby teeth often dictate how adult teeth grow. Damaged baby teeth can result in teeth growing crooked or too close together. Plus, no child will enjoy sitting in a dentist’s chair for a filling, so that’s something you want to avoid wherever possible.
A regular oral hygiene routine, a healthy diet, and regular dental checkups can significantly reduce tooth decay risk.
Oral hygiene education
Educating your child about the importance of oral hygiene can help them take responsibility for their dental health. Use child-friendly books and videos to explain how cavities develop and the importance of brushing and flossing. Another great idea is letting children watch you perform your dental routine. They can see you washing, rinsing, flushing, and young kids generally love mimicking their parents. So, rather than making oral hygiene a chore, make it a fun time that you can share together, and children are more likely to pick up your good habits.
Looking for a Parramatta dentist?
Dental Avenue is committed to providing expert dental care for your child. With a welcoming environment and a friendly team, Dental Avenue is your first choice to maintain your child’s oral health and educate them about good oral hygiene practices. Plus, if you need advice on maintaining your child’s dental health at all stages of development, our caring dentists are more than happy to help. Contact us today to find out more.