According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), baby teeth are vulnerable to tooth decay from their very first appearance, between 6 and 12 months. Get ahead of your child’s oral hygiene in 3 simple steps.
Teach Tools, Technique and Time
Most children learn by copying. From an early age let your child watch you brush your teeth. Begin brushing as soon as their first tooth appears, using an age appropriate toothbrush with soft bristles and a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste. This will help prevent and control tooth decay. Children below 3 years only need a smear of toothpaste, whilst those aged 3 to 6 should be aiming for a pea size. For children over 6, upgrade the toothpaste from one with 1000ppm fluoride to one containing 1350 – 1500ppm.
Jazz things up in the bathroom with children’s toothbrushes including everything from cartoon characters to electric toothbrushes that light up. However, most professionals wouldn’t recommend using an electric toothbrush on children under 3 years.
Set a good example by remembering timings! It can be easy as you get older to forget, but AAPD recommends that you should be brushing twice a day, morning and night, for 2 minutes. Think of it as 30 seconds for each quarter of your child’s mouth. It’s also never too early to focus on flossing! Start as soon as they have two teeth that touch together.
Get in to Good Oral Health Habits
Good oral health goes beyond brushing and flossing. Everyday choices can also go a long way to ensuring your child doesn’t develop preventable conditions such as tooth decay. Avoid sugary foods as much as possible, including juice, and make sure that your child only consumes water at night after brushing their teeth.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), American Dental Association (ADA) and the American of Pediatrics, all recommend visiting the dentist before the age of 1. Not only will this ensure that their oral hygiene is up to scratch, but it will also get them used to the sights, sounds and smells of the dentist, so that it doesn’t instil fear in them. If you’re unsure of where you local dental surgery is, try this tool to find a pediatric dentist near me.
Make it fun!
Most importantly, let them take charge of their own oral hygiene. This can begin with allowing them to choose their own exciting toothbrush, to helping them brush their own teeth as early as possible. If you get into the habit of brushing for them, it can and will last much longer than it needs to.
No child is going to want to brush their teeth if it seems like a chore, so win the bedtime battle by making it something they can be proud of accomplishing. Why not turn it in to a competition, either between your children or between you and your child? Start the timer and see who can remove the most plaque in two minutes. Use disclosing tablets to stain their teeth wherever plaque hasn’t been removed; they’ll be determined to get rid of every last bit of blue!
Do you have any more mom tips to promote healthy habits? Let us know in the comments below.