Kids Dental Care
Top 5 Dental Care Tips for Kids
Many children’s dentists believe in introducing children to professional dental care from around the age of three. This may include watching a parent have their teeth cleaned, or having their own baby teeth counted and polished with a soft brush. The experience is a positive one and is encouraged with each subsequent appointment. If you only take your child to the dentist when something bad happens they will associate dentist trips with that stressful experience.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
A process of familiarization through positive experiences will reinforce the benefits of preventative care in your child. Having a bad experience at the dentist at a young age can often result in a fear of dental care for years to come. This can be a lot harder to fix later, so creating familiarity and confidence as early as possible is key. Your dentist may also recommend that your child’s teeth be fissuresealed to prevent decay – prevention is better than cure, and can save you a lot of money and stress for your child further down the track.
TAKING CARE OF KIDS’ TEETH AT HOME
As well as regular dentist visits, there are things you can do at home to make sure your kids’ teeth are getting proper care and attention. Let’s take a look at five tips to practice good dental care for your child.
- Get into the habit of running a clean, damp washcloth over your child’s gums to clear away harmful bacteria, even before they begin teething.
- Once teeth do appear, you can brush them with an infant toothbrush using water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice).
- Once your baby’s teeth touch, you can begin flossing gently in between them.
- Around age 2, your child should learn to spit while brushing. Avoid giving your child water to swish and spit because this might make swallowing toothpaste more likely.
- Always supervise kids younger than 6 while brushing, as they are more likely to swallow toothpaste.
- Avoid ‘bottle mouth’ – a condition that causes pocked, pitted or discoloured teeth in children. It’s caused by sugars from juice or milk eating away at your child’s tooth enamel. Kids with severe cases might develop cavities and need their entire front teeth pulled (permanent teeth will grow in later) – so don’t let children or babies go to sleep with their milk or juice bottles.
Keep to these guidelines at home, and schedule routine dental checkups anywhere from once every 3 months to once a year, depending on your dentist’s recommendations. Keeping sugary foods in check, encouraging regular brushing and flossing, and working with your dentist will all contribute to your child’s good dental health.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TOOTHBRUSH & TOOTHPASTE
Toothbrushes are just like any other product on the market and that means that there are plenty of options available. So when it comes to brushing, which toothbrush and toothpaste should you choose? Is it really worth investing a lot of money in an electronic oral care system? Let’s find out.
SELECTING A TOOTHBRUSH FOR YOUR CHILD
If you’re looking for a toothbrush for your pre-schooler, look for a manual brush with a brush head that’s approximately 19mm long. Once your child starts going to school, a brush head that’s nearly 22mm long should be good enough. Look for soft bristled toothbrushes for children until they learn how to brush on their own. This will prevent them from damaging their teeth and gums.
SELECTING AN ADULT TOOTHBRUSH
You are spoiled for choice when it comes to adult toothbrushes. If you can afford to pay for a good toothbrush, then look for a powered one that comes with multiple speed and motion settings. Powered brushes have an edge over manual ones because they effectively break down plaque and tartar. Powered brushes are also ideal for people who are physically challenged. They simplify the brushing process and don’t require one to do much.
The only drawback to powered brushes is that you have to keep them charged. So if you’re going to be travelling extensively and won’t have the opportunity to charge your brush, carry a manual toothbrush.
Sonic brushes use fluid dynamics to displace plaque from the oral cavity. These brushes produce sonic waves or vibrations to agitate saliva which in turn breaks down plaque build-up on the teeth. Sonic brushes are some of the most effective in the market and come with a higher price tag.
TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND
- If you’re purchasing a manual toothbrush, buy a soft bristled brush, especially if you’re used to brushing vigorously. This will protect your gum line and the enamel coating on your teeth.
- If you find it hard to reach posterior teeth, find a brush with a narrow or smaller head.
- Make sure your toothbrush dries out completely after use so that it doesn’t breed bacteria.
- Replace the brush/brush ahead after 3 months or if the bristles start to wear out.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TOOTHPASTE
The type of toothpaste you choose will depend on the type of oral problems you have. If you’re more prone to cavities, look for a toothpaste that controls tartar formation. Use a fluoride rinse after brushing to protect the enamel from corrosion and decay.
If you suffer from sensitive teeth, on the other hand, desensitising toothpaste may be an ideal choice for you. These toothpastes often contain potassium nitrate, known to numb pain or sensitivity caused by hot or cold foods and drinks. Desensitising toothpastes that contain potassium nitrate and stannous fluoride are considered safer than others that contain harmful desensitising ingredients.