Children should have a dental visit when their first tooth erupts, or on their second birthday – whichever comes first
Their first visit is mainly to enable them to get used to our surroundings. At their first visit they will probably have a ride in the chair and investigate some of our gadgets, but this will allow their confidence to grow. If we are very lucky, they may even allow us a little peek at their teeth.
Following this initial introduction, we will suggest you bring your child in every 6 months. This allows us to monitor the eruption of the teeth and also be aware of any problems at an early stage.
Not only will you be offering your child comprehensive dental care, but you will be educating them about their future dental needs. In a very short space of time, your child will become familiar with their regular visits and visits to our centre will be less of a concern than it is for most adults in this generation.
Why are children’s check-ups so important?
Many parents think that because a child’s first teeth will fall out, proper dental care isn’t important. This is false. One of the most important things to know about children’s teeth are they are susceptible to decay right from the moment they emerge. It is for this reason we suggest you introduce teeth cleaning as soon as the teeth are visible.
When do I start brushing my child’s teeth?
You should start brushing your child’s teeth at around the age of one and continue until they reach five to six years of age. This is because, on average, younger children do not have the manual dexterity required to clean their teeth effectively.
When the first teeth appear, use a cotton swab daily to gently wipe the teeth and remove plaque. This routine will ensure the teeth are kept relatively clean until brushing can begin, at around the age of one.
The key to getting your child to brush is to make it fun. If you are enthusiastic about the activity, your child will be excited and motivated. If your child watches you brush your teeth and displaying good dental habits, they will follow.
All About Teeth have a few helpful steps to help kids get involved in their brushing:
- Use a small toothbrush that is appropriate for your child’s age and the brush should have soft bristles
- We recommend smearing a specialised child’s formulated fluoride toothpaste onto their brush
- Try positioning yourself behind your child and rotate the toothbrush in small circles, be careful to be gentle
- Encourage your child to spit but not rinse
Our team will be happy to assist should you require instruction or assistance with your child’s oral care routine.
What should my child be eating?
As parents are well aware, it can be difficult to know what to offer fussy eaters. You can spend hours contemplating the next meal only to find that your child wants something with minimum nutritional value. It can be upsetting.
Most importantly, you should try not to give in to the temptation of offering your child sweets or sticky foods. It’s important for the dental and general health that you consistently offer foods that provide your child with a good nutritional balance.
It’s important for their dental and general health that you consistently offer foods that provide your child with a good nutritional balance.
Try to include these healthy snacks:
- Fresh fruits
- Crunchy vegetables
- Dairy foods – cheese, milk or yoghurt
- Protein snack – slice of lean meat or hard boiled egg
- Breads – try wholegrain rolls, flat bread or fruit bread
- Water or diluted juices
Saying this though, children do deserve a treat every once in a while. To minimise the risk of decay, make sure your child bushes or has a drink of water following a treat. Drinking will be similar to a rinsing action, it will dilute and dissolve any remaining sugar that has pooled around the teeth; it will also stimulate salvia flow which is natures best defence against bacteria causing decay.
What foods should my child avoid?
Children often choose the most sugary and fatty foods as their favourites, and some of the most common foods to avoid are muesli and chocolate bars, potato crisps and oven baked savoury biscuits, sweet drinks, doughnuts and cakes and lollies.
Sweet or sticky foods that can get stuck in the grooves of the teeth are the most dangerous; their lingering effects can be destructive.
If you would like to know more about how you can assist your child in getting a good head start to oral health, please ask one of our team members during your next visit.