Quite a big number of people oversee a couple of important factors when looking after their children's oral health. Parents are often too busy with their daily schedules. The truth is even baby teeth matter! Here are some key things to know and to keep in mind to teach your child about oral health.
Quite a big number of people oversee a couple of important factors when looking after their children's oral health. A common thought is 'I don’t need to take my child to the dentist unless there is an issue'. Another thought is 'baby teeth don’t really matter'. Parents are often so busy with daily schedules that oral health gets thought of as ‘a later to do task’ or ‘unnecessary’ and therefore ends up on the back burner. The truth is baby teeth DO matter! Children’s teeth should be taken care of from when they are a baby. Children should be taken to the dentist for checkups from the age of two, not only to get them used to being in the dental chair but also as a method of prevention rather than a reaction to a problem or issue with teeth.
Unfortunately, bad oral hygiene and tooth decay is on the rise in children today at an alarming rate. The best thing we can do for our kids is be educated on good oral health and hygiene. So here are some key things to know and to keep in mind to teach your child about oral health:
Twice a day, everyday
Ensure your kids brush their teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night after their last meal. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, which they shouldn’t swallow, remembering to brush for at least two minutes at a time. For babies and toddlers, you will need to do this for them. Two minutes may be a bit overkill considering they might only have a few teeth, but doing this twice a day is going to create good habits so when they are older there might not be as much fight when it comes to teeth time. For kids a little older, you can make this a fun activity by using an egg timer or playing a fun song that goes for 2 minutes. When children get older you’ll find they will want to exercise their independence by brushing their teeth themselves, this is ok as long as you are there to supervise and guide them.
Regular dental visits
Regular dental visits means every six months, that’s right, every SIX months! This is called a routine checkup and clean. The dentist will examine their teeth and clean them, usually with a flavoured, grainy toothpaste which helps them to sparkle and shine. This is a great opportunity for you as a parent to help your child understand that going to the dentist is an important part of life. This is setting them up for success because the chance of them returning to the dentist when they become independent at age 18, 19, 20 is much higher than a child who didn’t routinely go to the dentist growing up.
Cost is also a determining factor for most families but be aware that if you have private health insurance or are eligible for the Child Dental Benefit Scheme through Medicare, most if not all of the cost will be covered. If you don’t have either of these your child’s oral health is still something worth investing in!
Healthy eating and drinking habits
What children eat and drink plays a huge role in their overall oral health. Most quick and easy prepackaged foods contain a lot of unnecessary added sugar along with preservatives, both of which can harm teeth. Children need a healthy, balanced diet made up of fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and lean meats. It can be challenging if you're time poor but factoring in some time each week to meal prep can be tremendously helpful when it comes to giving your children healthy nutritious homemade foods. Keeping an eye on their daily sugar intake will help you as a parent realise just how much sugar they are consuming. Water is also important for washing away any left over food particles that like to stick on teeth which can lead to tooth decay.
*We'd like to thank our friends at Coomera Dental Centre for writing this great blog post for Thumsters! You can check out their services and friendly team here: https://www.coomeradentalcentre.com.au/