It is important to maintain good oral health in children from a young age. This is because:
The foundation for healthy permanent teeth is laid during the first few years of life
- Children with decay in their baby teeth carry a far greater chance of developing decay in their permanent teeth
It is now well established that oral health impacts directly on overall health and wellbeing
At Southside Paediatric Dentistry we recommend that your child receives a dental check-up every 6 months. Achieving and maintaing excellent oral health requires true teamwork between child, famiy and dentist. As such, there are several things you can be doing at home every day to maintain your child’s oral hygiene and ensure healthy teeth and gums.
In maintaining healthy teeth and gums, it is essential to brush twice a day. You should start brushing teeth from when they first appear. We recommend that parents help their child to brush their teeth until they are around 8 years old. It is only at this age that children have gained the manual dexterity and knowledge to adequately brush their teeth on their own.
Manual toothbrushes: Always use a ‘soft’ bristled tooth brush with a small head. The packaging of the tooth brush should indicate an age range that is appropriate.
Electric toothbrushes: The head should be “soft”, and one that spins around (“oscillates”), rather than simply agitates.
For children under 6 years of age use a fluoridated children’s toothpaste, placing only a pea-sized amount of the toothpaste on the brush. This has appropriate levels of fluoride for small children. For children 6 years and older, an adult strength fluoride toothpaste is recommended. There are of course exceptions to every rule, and our paediatric dentists will let you know which type and strength of toothpaste is best for your child, depending on their individual dental and medical needs.
Diet has a significant impact on the dental health of a child. Exposure to sugars and acids is a major factor in causing dental decay. Our mouths are exposed to acid daily, every time we eat or drink anything other than water. It is important however to reduce the amount, and more importantly, frequency, of acid and sugar consumed in our diets.
- Soft drinks, cordial and fruit juices should be limited to special occasions, and only consumed through a straw, with a meal. Water should be the main drink of choice.
- The more we snack during the day, the more times our teeth are exposed to acid attack. Limit snacking to once between each meal.
- Be careful of so-called ‘healthy’ foods, such as smoothies and muesli bars. These may actually contain large amounts of sugar, so always check nutritional labels.