Look after your teeth for Dental Health Week

Teaching children the importance of oral hygiene must start from a young age.

1. Teach your children how to brush their teeth

Children do not have the dexterity to be able to brush their own teeth efficiently until they can tie their own shoe laces.

Teach your child the right technique with circular motions at a 45-degree angle, brush with small back and forth strokes and up and down strokes.

2. Set a timer

Set a timer when your child is ready to start brushing on their own!

It’s recommended that we brush our teeth for a full three minutes!

By setting a timer, it shows your child how long is left to go.

3. Start early

Children should start having their teeth brushed as soon as their first baby tooth appears – about six months of age.

This should also be when they first visit the dentist.

To brush your baby’s teeth, lean your child against your lap or arms, use a small toothbrush, take a rice-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and gently brush the child’s teeth.

You’ll find that a lot of babies love chewing on toothbrushes!

4. Brush their teeth twice a day – but especially before bed!

Ideally, you should brush your teeth twice a day, and brushing before bed is crucial.

Saliva helps fight cavity-causing bacteria, but you don’t produce much saliva while you are sleeping.

Cleaning your teeth before bed prevents acids from eating through the enamel on your teeth, which can lead to tooth decay.

Try not to let your child have anything to eat or drink (except water) after brushing their teeth before bed.

5. Floss!

Yes, even our children need to floss their teeth!

Not only will it teach them excellent habits for the future, but this is the only way to effectively clean in between our teeth where the toothbrush can’t reach.

There is a technique to flossing that can be tricky to master – if you are unsure, please get your oral health professional to show you how.

6. Don’t forget to brush your tongue

Brushing your tongue often gets forgotten but brushing your tongue will help remove bacteria and prevent bad breath.

7. A fun thing to try at home is called disclosing tablets/ liquid

This is a purple tablet or liquid that stains plaque purple and makes it easier to see.

Get your child to brush their teeth first, then “surprise” them with the disclosing tablet!

Everywhere plaque still remains will show up bright purple.

It’s a simple and easy way to show your child (and us) where they are missing with their brushing.

The stain is easily removed – by brushing.

8. Dental exam and clean every six months

This is one of the most important parts of keeping your child’s mouth healthy and clean.

No matter how hard we try at home, a visit and professional cleaning from your oral health therapists will keep your child’s smile on the right track.

How many of the above items are you able to tick off?

If you are unsure of the best way to care for your child’s teeth, please discuss it with your caring oral health therapist at your next dental check-up.

Teaching and maintaining good oral health skills now will help protect your kids’ teeth well into the future.

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