Good oral hygiene can make an enormous difference in reducing preventable oral diseases and tooth decay. As a health practitioner, I have put together a helpful and practical list of tips to help make caring for your child’s teeth easier and stress-free.
1. Positive associations
Positive associations help form positive relationships. Help your child create positive associations with their dental care by making oral care fun and free from fear.
There are many ways to encourage positive feelings about dental health. Read books, role play dental visits, play games and sing songs about brushing your teeth. Refer to the dentist in positive terms, e.g. “helpful”, “kind”, and “caring”. Make sure to avoid words that may evoke fear or pain, even if you personally have a fear of the dentist.
Offer rewards and positive reinforcement at home around tooth brushing and healthy habits to help create positive momentum and associations.
2. Good habits
Consistent, small changes play a big part in overall dental health. Here are some easy to follow habits to put in place today.
- Swill with water after eating – the simple practice of rinsing your mouth with water after eating can dramatically reduce the presence of bacteria and acids that form cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.
- Brush well – tooth brushing is key for healthy teeth and gums. Teach your child to brush in small, circular motions for 2 minutes, twice daily. Use a reward chart or timer to help keep tooth brushing on track.
- Avoid highly acidic and sugary foods, especially carbonated drinks, sucking lollies and sour candies. The high acid content softens enamel (the tooth’s hard, protective coating); damaged enamel leads to cavities and the need for dental treatments.
Drinking tap water and using a toothpaste that contains fluoride are great ways to support strong enamel – fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel. Tap water in Australia has fluoride added to help support the oral health of the community at large.
However, too much fluoride exposure at a young age can lead to white stains. While harmless, it is not ideal and cannot be removed once formed. Therefore, sucking the toothbrush and swallowing toothpaste are not recommended.
A common mistake I see is young children using adult toothpaste. We strongly recommend using age-appropriate toothpastes as they contain appropriate fluoride levels and have a milder flavour.
4.Visit the dentist
Schedule a trip to the dentist twice a year, from the age of two. Verve Dental is experienced in treating children and ensures that the experience is a relaxed and positive one.
Support your child at the dentist by remaining calm and positive at all times. Discuss in advance what they can expect from the reclining chair, the equipment the dentist uses and the noise of the suction.
If your child is likely to feel anxious, consider bringing along their favourite toy or comforter, and call ahead to let the dentist know so they can be extra gentle in their approach.
There are many easy habits to install that can have a big impact on the overall health of your child’s teeth and gums. Dental clinic in Bentleigh East is here to help support you and your child to make dental care an important and positive experience throughout their life. Contact us today to book your child in for a dental checkup.