Getting your child into a routine of looking after their teeth well will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives.
There are probably a fair number of adults in the UK who wish that they had personally looked after their teeth better when they were younger.
Although some of the harm may have been our own fault, it is a fact that many parents in the past, did not have the information needed to provide the best care for their children in their early years. Much advice likely amounted to little more than “brush your teeth well”.
If only it were that simple! Thankfully, these days, parents are armed with much better advice and can help to provide more effective dental care for younger members of their family.
Whilst with slightly older children it is often a case of reminding and supervising; where the children are very young, or toddlers, if you wish, it is primarily a parent’s responsibility to provide the care for them.
To help with this, our Greenwich dental team have put together a basic guide to help parents who have toddlers take better care of their teeth and gums:
- Don’t ignore their ‘baby’ teeth – Although it is true that children will eventually lose their first teeth, this is not an excuse for not looking after them properly. In addition to the child suffering if they have tooth decay, these teeth acts as ‘space savers’ for the adult teeth when they come through and an early loss of these first teeth can result in adult teeth coming through crooked and misaligned.
- Use fluoride toothpaste wisely – You should start brushing their teeth, using a soft toothbrush, as soon as the first tooth comes through. Make sure to use an age appropriate toothpaste that contains fluoride. Do make sure to follow the guidelines on the packet and do not use too much toothpaste. The right amount will help to protect their teeth, whilst using too much could potentially cause harm.
- Avoid sugary drinks at nighttime – It may be tempting to give your young child a sugary drink to help them get to sleep. This does though, mean that their teeth will be exposed to sugars throughout the night. Never give your child anything but water once you have brushed their teeth at night.
- Avoid letting them sip drinks over a period of time – We know that children are drawn to sweet drinks. Whilst best avoided as much as possible, these are not such a problem when they drink it all in one go, which allows their teeth time to recover. Many parents use ‘sippy cups’ which prevent leakage and allow their child to take sips over a long period of time. This is a method that will almost certainly lead to dental problems as the constant sipping does not allow the enamel on their teeth time to remineralise.
- Mouth breathing – If your child regularly breathes through their mouth, rather than their nose, do let your Greenwich children’s dentist know. Mouth breathing will often lead to an increase in the dryness of the mouth and may lead to problems with their gums, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
- See the dentist regularly – From around one year old, you should bring your child for regular examinations at the Confidental Clinic. Early detection of dental problems means that extensive interventions are much less likely. These visits will also help your child to become accustomed to the dental environment, normalising it and, hopefully, helping to avoid dental phobia in the future.
If you have young children who have not yet seen a dentist and are one year old or more, make this the year when you put them on the right track to having good oral health. The dental team at the Confidental Clinic are child friendly and will make the child’s check-up visits as pleasant as they possibly can.
To arrange an appointment for your children, or yourself, please call us on 020 8858 1422.