As soon as your child’s first teeth emerge, you have to start cleaning them. That’s because bacterial plaque stick well to teeth – no matter how tiny they are. Bacterial plaque can develop into tooth decay, cavities and affect normal tooth development. So the earlier you start cleaning their teeth, the better their oral health outcomes will be.
It’s also essential to imprint good oral habits at the youngest age possible. Your 6 month old child will turn 1, 3, 5 years in no time and then, before you know it, they’re 18 year old adults. Providing a good early foundation that sets up effective oral care and hygiene habits, can help your child avoid serious oral health issues throughout their lifetime.
Give your child a positive first tooth brushing experience
Expecting your child to stay still – with their mouth wide open so you can brush their teeth – is wishful thinking.
Fortunately, the first teeth to come up appear right at the front of the mouth. And there’s only one or two of them to deal with. You’ll have to position your child on your lap so you can see right into their mouth, part their mouth open with your fingers and give those tiny new teeth a quick brush. Remember to use a tiny round-headed, soft-bristled tooth brush suitable for their early age group. You can use a cloth at first but progress to a toothbrush when possible.
You will have to establish a regular routine of oral care right up to the age where they can finally brush and floss unsupervised. Teaching a child how & when to brush is a process that takes time. Generally, if they can tie their shoelaces up, they should be able to brush and floss without your supervision. However, most kids can’t floss well until they get dexterous enough, which is at around 8 to 9 years old.
Encourage your kids to practice & build good oral hygiene habits
It’s important that your young child brush their teeth for 2 minutes twice a day, on time. Encourage and motivate them to look forward to ‘brush teeth time’ by role-playing with a plush toy, brushing together to a timer, trying flavoured toothpaste or brushing to a Wiggles track. Making it a fun activity is the key point.
Most people already know how to protect their oral health against oral pathogens. This includes: daily brushing, interdental cleaning (incl. flossing) and use of mouthwash; eating a healthy fibre-rich diet; replacing your toothbrush every few months; and attending regular dental check-ups and cleans.
Taking the right steps to care for your oral health, also allows your oral immune system to work more effectively against viruses – before they invade the rest of your body.
Remove ALL dental plaque from your child’s teeth from Day 1
Tooth decay in Australian children aged 2 – 12 years is a widespread oral condition. This is a sad fact because tooth decay in most children is 100% preventable with the right oral care and hygiene habits. Add to that, the propensity for kids to consume sugary snacks and drinks at any opportunity, and you have a recipe for disaster. This can result in more bacterial plaque, more tooth decay and the earlier onset of more serious oral conditions – including cavities and tooth loss.
Remove plaque quickly and more easily before it turns into hardened tartar. Tartar can lead to decay, cavities or inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and needs to be removed by a dentist. Plaque build-up can cause discomfort for little ones so you have to ensure all their tooth surfaces are plaque free. Use floss for hidden and hard-to-reach tooth surfaces at the back of the mouth.
Your child’s dentist can spot weaknesses at early dental checkups
Some kids have tooth defects or thinner tooth enamel which provides less protection against the effects of plaque. If tooth enamel erodes from decay, an exposed tooth nerve can get irritated and cause discomfort. Your dentist can detect these issues and provide your child with preventative treatment measures for tooth decay, such as fluoride varnish.