Let’s face it, dental hygiene isn’t something kids worry about. Brushing their teeth is probably right at the bottom of their to-do lists each day, there’s so much more fun and exciting things to do. Here are a few tips and tricks to help keep your children’s teeth healthy.
Help prevent tooth decay
It goes without saying that diet plays such a huge part in preventing tooth decay. Restricting the amount of sugar and acids in their diets can help prevent tooth decay, you can do this by limiting the amount of sugary treats your child has. Avoid sugary and fizzy drinks and encourage milk or water as an alternative, sugary drinks are one of the main causes of tooth decay in children.
Practice good dental hygiene from a young age
Even before they have their very first milk teeth, it’ a good idea to clean your babies mouth and gums. This can get your little ones used to the idea before you introduce a toothbrush. When the time comes, let your little one explore a toothbrush, let them play with it, practice on their own toys by encouraging role play.
Supervise your child’s brushing and assist them at first, once they get used to the idea let them do it themselves (perhaps give them a once over first and then let them copy)
Help them develop their daily hygiene routine by encouraging them to brush before bed and in the mornings after breakfast.
Remember to praise them often, it’ll encourage them to be more enthusiastic about the whole brushing experience. The sooner we start forming good dental hygiene habits for children, the greater the are chances for healthy teeth in the future with no need for dental work.
When brushing becomes the norm, introduce things like mouth wash and get them into the habit of flossing daily.
Encourage your child to go to the dentist
It’s common to fear going to the dentist, even as adults it’s not the most pleasant experience. Regular visits from a young age can help your little ones get used to going and can make the whole experience less daunting.
Register your child at a dentist from a young age, try not to leave it until they are of school age. The dentist is just as important as having your child registered with your local doctor.
Try not to spring the dentist on them, let them know about the appointment in advance, talk about what will happen, some dentists even allow children to go and look around first before their appointments, check with your local dentist to see if that would be an option. If you can’t take a look around before the appointment, your dentist may even have a website with resources for you to look at like The Old Church Dental Practice here
Let them watch videos of what to expect when they visit the dentist, the internet can be a great resource.
Make brushing fun
There’s practically an app for everything nowadays, even apps to encourage children to brush their teeth. We’ve used the Oral-B Magic Timer App which we found really helpful, it certainly encouraged Little Legs to want to brush her teeth by earning daily rewards.
Develop a reward system, younger children love stickers so a sticker chart works great for encouragement.
The right toothbrush
Using a toothbrush designed specifically for children with a small head and soft bristles. There’s a huge range of children’s brushes available, it’s a good idea to let your little ones get involved. Let them pick their own brush, perhaps they have one of their favourite cartoon character or animal.
We purchased a children’s electric toothbrush with a built in timer so we know that not only are her teeth getting a good clean, she’s also brushing for the correct amount of time.
If you have any tips for encouraging your children to brush their teeth, I would love to hear from you