It’s never too soon to start introducing your children to the importance of good oral health routines. Regular dentist visits, a good oral care regime at home and a healthy diet will benefit not only their oral health but their overall health as well.
1. Regular dental visits
You should take your child to the dentist as soon as their first milk teeth appear. The sooner they can become familiar with the sights and sounds of a dental practice, and get to know the dentist, the better. You could even take them to your own dentist appointments prior to this. Be sure to maintain a positive, upbeat attitude about the visit, so your child doesn’t learn to fear the dentist.
2. Brushing twice a day
As soon as your child’s baby teeth come through you should also start cleaning them twice a day. Use a special baby toothbrush with a tiny smear of toothpaste. This will get them used to the sensation of the toothbrush in their mouth as well as getting used to the twice daily routine. Starting these routines at an early age will help them build good habits for life. As your children grow make sure they are using age-appropriate toothbrushes (allowing them to choose their own is a good idea) and toothpaste.
Children up to three years of age should use a smear of toothpaste with 1000ppm (parts per million) fluoride. For children over the age of three a pea sized blob of 1350ppm – 1500ppm fluoride toothpaste should be used.
You should supervise your child’s brushing morning and night until they are at least seven years old.
3. A healthy diet
It’s important that children understand the importance of a healthy diet, for their overall health as well as their oral health. Try and limit the amount of sugar they consume, and be especially aware of the hidden sugars in some foods and drinks. Limit sweet, sugary treats and at bed-time make sure you only give your child milk or water to drink.
4. Additional resources
The following pages provide more detailed information about looking after your children’s teeth and limiting their sugar intake: