Oral Health Care Tips For Children
Getting your child off to a good start with healthy teeth will pay dividends later on.
As adults, hopefully we are all aware of the importance of taking good care of our teeth and gums. However, there are probably readers of this blog who have already had dental issues that could have been avoided if their parents had been more aware of this. As children, we tend to look after our teeth the way that our parents do, but unfortunately, this isn’t always a good thing.
No parent wants to see their child in agony with a toothache, but even issues that don’t necessarily cause pain can create problems later on in life. The Synergy Clinic dentists in Addlestone, firmly believe in looking after young teeth, helping them get off to a good start in life.
A child’s first appointment
It sometimes comes as a surprise to parents when we suggest that they should bring their child to see us at around the time of their first birthday. There are a number of good reasons for this though. Although no teeth may have erupted at this stage, checking the gum health is important too. These need to be kept clean and we can show you how, as infected gums could cause problems when the teeth do finally erupt.
It is extremely unlikely that there will be any need for any treatment at this age, and these gentle and friendly visits allow for a child to be exposed to a dental environment from an early age. As so many people suffer from dental phobia, it is thought that these non treatment early visits help to reduce the risk of this type of anxiety in later life.
We know that there is a lot of conflicting advice available on the internet, and even with the best will in the world, it is possible to follow advice that, even if not harmful, is not the best way to look after young teeth. We are always here to offer advice and to answer any questions that you have.
There are some basics of home oral health care which are especially applicable to children:
- Try to avoid too many sweets and especially sugary drinks. The later are incredibly harmful to teeth and are thought to have contributed significantly to the rise in extractions undergone by children.
- Make sure that they clean their teeth twice a day and supervise them when they do so. Very young children will often copy their parents so it may be useful to brush your teeth at the same time so that they can see how it is done. Do make sure that they brush for two minutes and not just have the brush in their mouth for that time.
- Once they have cleaned their teeth at bed time, nothing should be consumed other than plain water. Even a milky drink contains sugars and will remain on their teeth during the night.
- Once you feel that they are old enough, try to encourage them to use dental floss too. This may prove to be tricky but it’s well worth it – even children can get gum disease, and tooth decay often occurs between teeth where food becomes trapped.
As mentioned earlier, you should make the first appointment for your child at around one year old and from that point on, they should be seen every six months. This allows us to monitor their general oral health and check that their teeth are not becoming crooked and requiring orthodontic treatment.
It is also a good idea to arrange for them to see the hygienist too. In addition to any cleaning that they may do, their other key role is educational and they will be able to help your child understand the importance of taking good care of the oral cavity and how best to do so. As children start to become independent, they sometimes challenge their parent’s worldview, but will still often listen to professionals such as teachers and hopefully, dentists too.
As children turn into teenagers, there are more challenges ahead such as the potential introduction to junk food, alcohol, cigarettes and possibly even drugs. We will cover this age range in a separate blog in the future, but hopefully good habits will already have been established by then.
If you are a parent and live in the Addlestone area, now is a good time to register your child at a dental practice. Even if they are long past their first birthday, it is better to start now rather than much later. The sooner you do, the less likelihood there is for more extensive treatment.
If you would like to register your child at the Synergy Clinic, you can do so by calling us on 01932 856541.