From the moment your little ones' first teeth appear, you want to introduce good dental habits. It's a great idea, but sometimes it can be easier said than done.
Not only can establishing good routines when they're young help them with their health it can set them up for good habits when they're adults.
While most adults can have a few fillings from childhood, tooth decay and fillings shouldn't seem like the 'norm'. With 1 in 5 children experiencing tooth decay under 11 years old, it's becoming a growing concern for many parents. We recommend visiting the dentist for your children around age 2 in order for them to get comfortable with the dentist early.
Making dental care for your children a daily activity and staying current with regular check-ups will also help ensure they're getting the best start in life for their dental health
Here are some tips to help your kids start their healthy dental journey.
Start an oral hygiene routine early
There's no need even to wait for that first tooth to appear. Before you see a tooth bursting through it's a good idea to start using a bristle free brush or flannel wipe to use on a baby's gums to get them used to the idea of something brushing on their gums and in their mouth.
Once a tooth appears you can brush the tooth with a soft bristle brush or rubber toothbrush until they are old enough to hold a proper brush themselves.
Educate and talk to toddlers about the why
Once your toddler is old enough to understand a few age-appropriate lessons, you can educate them as to why it's important. In most cases, if you make it a fun experience and they understand it's good for them, they will find it quite amusing and interesting.
Try and refrain from negative stories like, "That's why Grandmas' teeth fell out because she didn't brush them". But instead, positive reinforcement with talks suggesting "Wow, look how shiny your teeth look when they are brushed."
Lead by example
Kids will always watch you like a hawk and follow your lead. Make sure you invite them to watch you brush your teeth in a positive way, so they see it's also part of your regular routine. That includes brushing and flossing twice a day, so they see it's a big part of the daily routines for all the family, not just them.
Schedule check-ups twice a year
The earlier you can get your children to a dentist, the better, so they start feeling comfortable from an early age.
It's fair to say at some point in their dental journey they will encounter some tooth decay and a filling will be needed, so the more trips to the dentist that encounter a clean and check-up without the drill the better they will be prepared and more comfortable they will feel in the chair and with your dentist.
Choose the right products
Along with good dental habits, it's important children have the right products to protect their teeth and gums. Fluoride toothpaste, floss and the right toothbrush are essential.
Because gum tissue and tooth enamel are fragile, avoid nylon bristle toothbrushes that are abrasive and too hard. There is a range of toothbrushes in your supermarket and online which are designed for little mouths and come with soft bristles and even bamboo eco-friendly brushes that are BPA free with colour safe bristles to look out for.
It's never too early to have your children visit the dentist, contact our friendly team so we can book your little one in for the start of their regular visits.