As a parent you can foster good habits at an early age – and serve as a positive role model too.
There are three simple steps to prevent problems before they start, and help your child’s smile last a lifetime.
Step 1 – Limit the amount of sugary snacks and drinks.
Everyone has plaque bacteria in their mouth. When plaque bacteria mixes with sugary foods and rinks, acids are produced, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Instead, choose healthy snacks such as fresh fruits, vegetables and bread for healthy teeth. Also encourage your child to drink milk and water.
Step 2 – Brush teeth
Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, always before bedtime and on one other occasion for at least two minutes. Toothbrushing removes plaque from the surfaces of the teeth and fluoride keeps teeth strong, helping fight tooth decay. Here are some tips to help with toothbrushing –
- Treat toothbrushing as a routine;
- Use an appropriate toothpaste with fluoride;
- Use a smear of toothpaste for children up to 3 years old, and a pea-sized amount for children aged 3 – 6 years;
- Spit, don’t rinse after toothbrushing, allowing the fluoride to stay on the teeth for longer;
- Replace toothbrushes every 3 months;
- Make brushing fun by visiting www.colgatetwominutetales.co.uk.
- Make sure you brush each tooth surface all the way to the gum line.
- Brush the inside surface of each tooth.
- Brush the biting surface of the tooth.
- Use the tip of the brush behind each tooth, both top and bottom.
Step 3 – Regular dental check-ups
This will help your child become familiar with the dental environment and as a parent, you will gain important information and advice. Children should start visiting the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist about toothpastes, mouthwashes and toothbrushes.
You can encourage your child to come to the dentist by establishing a post check-up routine, like an outdoor activity (i.e a trip to the play park) or going to the library to choose a special book. Talk to your child about the importance of looking after their teeth.
All information taken from Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures leaflet which you can pick up at our Crookfur practice.