As adults, we know that brushing our teeth is an important part of the day. This regular activity, when done correctly, helps to keep bacteria and plaque at bay, reducing our changes of tooth decay as well as gum disease and other dental ailments. However, children tend to see this activity as a chore and, if not dealt with properly, could lead to poor dental hygiene habits in the future. We’ve put together some advice on how to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy as they grow and develop.
As your child ages, their need for dental care will increase, however it’s wise to start brushing their teeth once their first milk teeth begin to emerge. Some parents also gently clean their baby’s gums with a soft, wet cloth as this helps to clear away any bacteria. Once their first teeth have broken through, use a tiny bit of children’s toothpaste containing fluoride and brush for around 2 minutes.
This should be done twice daily—once before bed, and once in the morning after breakfast. As they get old enough to do this themselves, try to use positive reinforcement to encourage a healthy routine. You could even consider rewards, games, or special toothbrushes with timers on them. Supervise often to ensure they are cleaning their teeth properly though.
Another important part of dental hygiene is the act of flossing. In fact, many parents don’t bother with teaching their children to do this but using dental floss is very beneficial to mouth health. Once your child’s teeth begin to touch together, they can start to benefit from this, and getting them started early on this technique will help them to continue it into adulthood. Many adults today don’t bother with flossing because it can feel awkward and uncomfortable or time consuming. However, it can help to reduce serious dental problems like decay and gum disease.
Visiting your dentist is important as an adult but taking your child to see the dentist is possibly even more important. As your child’s mouth develops, their jaw will grow and make room for adult teeth, but sometimes the growth of these teeth doesn’t go according to plan. As well as this, poor brushing techniques and excessive sugary foods can lead to decay and further health problems. Your child’s dentist will be able to identify any problems with their brushing technique and also pick up on any serious issues before recommending treatment or giving you advice on how best to take care of their teeth.
Get Rid Of Fear
Eradicating fear from any essential task is an important step in both our children’s ability to rationalise, and in the case of getting rid of a fear of the dentist, will actually help them to receive treatment without issue, and will prevent them from avoiding trips to the dentist in adulthood. There are many ways that people try to reduce the fear that a dental checkup can instill, including rewards, early exposure to the dentist, and even the tale of the tooth fairy. This children’s dentist in Fulham has a great blog on the importance of the tooth fairy throughout the years and how it has helped children to deal with going to the dentist and losing their milk teeth.
Common Dental Problems
As mentioned earlier, some of the most common problems when it comes to dental health are tooth decay and gum disease. However, our children tend to be much more accident prone than adults and often suffer with facial injuries from falling over or playing rough. Teeth get knocked out all the time, some get chipped and crack, and lips and gums get cut in the process. It’s an unpleasant time when these things happen but they’re usually easily rectifiable.
Your dentist should usually be the first port of call for emergencies like this, and even if it’s just a milk tooth that’s been knocked out, it’s worthwhile having a checkup with your dentist to make sure everything is okay. In fact, if you have any concerns about dental problems at all, whether your child is complaining of irritation or pain in their teeth and gums, or if it looks like their adult teeth are growing out of alignment, then you should take them to see a dental profession as soon as possible so that they can provide the right treatment for your child.
Braces And Aligners
These are fairly common treatments for children when their teeth are overlapped or crooked. Braces tend to be metal, although there are some clear variations that you can get privately. These are permanently affixed to your child’s teeth to apply mild pressure, bringing them into the correct alignment. As well as metal bracers, an orthodontist may provide your child with a retainer which tend to be used for more minor issues such as only having a few teeth slightly out of place. There area other more subtle options available, including the likes of Invisalign, which reduce the anxiety and embarrassment from wearing obvious metal braces, and instead provides a more subtle appearance when straightening teeth.