Being a parent means taking on a huge responsibility when it comes to taking care of your kids. From the moment they’re born, your primary duty is to ensure their overall wellness. Aside from bringing your child to well-baby exams and monitoring their growth and development, you also need to make sure they have excellent dental health growing up. (1)
Healthy adult teeth are only achievable if you start taking care of your child’s teeth as early as now. Your child needs to have healthy teeth to help them eat and speak clearly. Maintaining healthy teeth will also keep your child away from tooth decay and other dental diseases. (1)
How to keep your child’s teeth healthy
There’s nothing more effective than teaching your child the importance of having healthy and strong teeth as they mature. To do this, start by educating your child about the negative effects of eating too much sugary food like chocolates, candies, cookies, and cakes.
Here are additional tips to keep in mind if your goal is to build a strong oral health foundation for your child. (2)
- Find a family dentist you can trust
Visiting a pediatric or family dentist is recommended as soon as your child reaches the age of 1. If you don’t have a dentist yet, it’s time to consider looking for one. It’s best to find a dentist in your local area who will fit your preferences and needs as a family. A local dentist within driving distance is ideal so it won’t take you too much time to reach the clinic in case of any dental emergency. As an example, if you live in Castle Hill in New South Wales, finding a Castle Hill dentist near you would be a smart move!. (1) (2)
Ask your friends or family if they know any good dentists in the area so you can narrow down your choices. Once you have a list, you can search online for their website or social media page so you can check reviews from their patients and customers.
- Start teaching your child good oral habits
It’s critical to teach your child to start building good oral habits while they’re young. As early as the age of 3, toddlers can learn how to put toothpaste on their toothbrushes and brush their own teeth. But make it a point to teach them how to spit the paste and not swallow it. (3)
Generally, for adults, it’s recommended to brush your teeth twice a day, which goes the same for your child. If your kid is 1 to 2 years old, you can use fluoride-free toothpaste for their teeth. Toothpaste with no fluoride is safe for children who don’t know how to spit yet, in case they swallow it. Once they learn how to spit out the paste, you can go ahead and switch to the one with fluoride. (4)
- Teach them how to floss their teeth
Another crucial part of your child’s oral care routine is flossing. Flossing helps remove food particles stuck in between the teeth, which could cause gum disease and tooth decay if not removed properly. Dentists recommend that children start learning how to floss between ages 2 and 6, when their teeth are beginning to adjust or fit closely together. If you’re unsure when to start teaching your child how to floss, ask your dentist about it. (2)
To teach your child the proper way of flossing, you’ll need to do it for them first. Look for a soft and flexible floss they can use while they’re still learning. Hard floss might injure their gums, especially if your child is still young and has soft gums. (2)
- Replace their toothbrush every 3 to 6 months
Newer toothbrushes can help get rid of plaque better than already old or worn-out ones, so make sure to replace your child’s toothbrush every 3 to 6 months. Also, as they age, you need to be mindful of the size of their toothbrush to ensure they’re using one that fits the size of their mouth and can thoroughly clean their teeth. (1)
The bottom line
Good oral health isn’t only about keeping your child’s teeth clean. More importantly, their teeth need to be healthy and in excellent condition so your child can use them well as intended. The key is to start taking care of their teeth as early as possible. Doing so also goes a long way in instilling proper oral habits in your children. You can start by finding a good family dentist you can trust. Teach your child how to build the right oral care routine, as well as the importance of flossing their teeth. Also, don’t forget to replace their toothbrush regularly.
- “A PARENT’S GUIDE FOR YOUR CHILDREN’S TEETH”, Source: https://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/baby-through-preschool-articles/a-parents-guide-for-your-childrens-teeth/
- “Keeping Your Child’s Teeth Healthy”, Source: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/healthy.html
- “Keeping children’s teeth healthy”, Source: https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/doctors-orders/keeping-childrens-teeth-healthy
- “Children’s teeth”, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/taking-care-of-childrens-teeth/