When it comes to looking after your children, one of the best things you can do to give them a good start in life is develop excellent dental health habits at as young an age as possible. The saying ‘It’s never too young to start’ is clearly applicable to good dental hygiene, with the first steps being taken before your baby’s teeth even break through the gums. The following are ten of the top tips for looking after your child’s oral health:
Start As You Mean To Go On – Even before your child’s teeth have erupted through the gums, it’s possible to start inculcating the very best habits. After feeding, clean your baby’s gums using soft gauze soaked in warm water. Not only will this remove any of the harmful bacteria which can, in time, lead to tooth decay, but it will also introduce your child to the idea of implements being used to keep the inside of their mouth clean.
Gentle Brushing – When your child’s teeth do emerge, it’s vital that you don’t damage the delicate enamel by brushing too vigorously or with a brush which is too hard. The best way to brush is softly and gently with a brush featuring especially soft bristles. Also, in these early months, it’s only necessary to use the tiniest amount of toothpaste.
Teach By Example – It’s important that you set the right example to your child by allowing them to see you thoroughly cleaning your teeth day and night. When they reach the age of two, you can start to teach them how to brush their own teeth using a soft brush and a small, pea sized helping of toothpaste. At this early age it’s vital to follow up their efforts by cleaning their teeth yourself in order to make sure the job has been done properly. By demonstrating the correct brushing methods you’ll be developing useful and effective habits and by the age of six they should be able to start brushing their own teeth.
Fluoride In the Water – Check to find out whether your water supply has fluoride added to it, as this will greatly increase the protection afforded your child’s teeth. If it isn’t present, than ask your dentist about supplements, and make every effort to ensure that you use toothpaste containing fluoride.
Sleeping and Drinking – Some parents like to let their baby drift off to sleep whilst sucking on a bottle. This is only acceptable if the bottle in question contains nothing but water. Anything else, from fruit juice to formula milk, will increase the chances of teeth decay and gum disease.
Cut Down On Sugar – It seems obvious but it can never be stated firmly enough; limit the amount of sugar your child puts into their mouth. Sugar in the mouth encourages bacteria and the production of acid which attacks the enamel.
Utilise Your Dentist – The sooner you establish a relationship with your dentist, the sooner you can start working together to maximise your child’s dental health. The first visit should take place around your child’s first birthday, with regular check-ups scheduled from then on. Working with your dentist you’ll be able to spot any potential decay or damage and, if your child’s teeth are crooked, for example, you’ll be able to access teeth straightening NHS treatment, or perhaps opt for cutting edge Invisalign treatment in London.
Educate – Make sure that your child knows just how much their dental clinic has to offer, from advice on dental hygiene all the way up to permanent treatments such as dental implants.
Encourage The Right Attitude – If you’re anxious or stressed out about visiting the dentist, then these negative feelings will transmit themselves to your child, making them feel the same. No matter what your true feelings are, presenting a clam, cheerful countenance will lead to your child feeling the same.
Healthy Diet – Whilst it seems obvious that you should avoid food which is high in sugar in order to protect children’s teeth, it’s also a fact that very many foods are actively good for the teeth. Those high in calcium can help to build strong teeth and bones and fibrous foods such as apple can actually have a cleaning, ‘scrubbing’ effect whilst they’re being chewed. Encouraging your child, from an early age, to eat plenty of these ‘positive’ foodstuffs will play a huge role in improving the health of their teeth
By forging the very best habits at the start of your child’s life, you’ll be creating the most certain conditions for years and years of good dental health. Although a dentists clinic can work wonders, and cope with any problems that might be thrown up, there really is no substitute for the preventative foundations set in place during those vital early years.