Maintaining a healthy and consistent oral hygiene routine should be an essential part of anybody’s day to day routine. Its helps keep our teeth strong, our breath fresh and our confidence high. And whilst keeping on top of our own oral hygiene is important, our children’s is just as -if not more- important to maintain.
When should kids begin caring for their teeth?
Caring for your child’s teeth should begin as early as possible. This is because infant’s teeth actually develop in the second trimester of pregnancy, so they already have a set of 20 primary teeth in their gums, some of which are already developed in their jaws.
You should begin your baby’s teeth as soon as their first tooth comes through, which is usually around the age of 6 months, however you can begin earlier than this if you wish.
How can we look after them?
Introducing your kids to a well maintained oral hygiene routine early on is essential to their development and understanding the importance of good dental regime. Because of this, you need to make sure your children are receiving the right care for their teeth for them to develop properly. We can ensure our infants are looking after their teeth properly by taking these precautions in relation to their development:
- You can take care of your baby’s teeth before they start teething by using a damp cloth to wipe away any potentially harmful bacteria away from their gums.
- When your baby’s teeth first develop, make sure to use an infant tooth brush with a drop of fluoride toothpaste roughly around the size of a grain of rice to gently rub in to the new teeth.
- Once your infant’s teeth are touching, you can start flossing between them
- Start teaching your child to spit whilst brushing around the age of 2. You can later teach them to swish and spit out the toothpaste at a later age, to avoid them potentially swallowing the toothpaste.
- Always be on hand to supervise children younger the age of 8 when brush, to reduce the chance of them swallowing the toothpaste.
- Be sure that the toothpaste your child is using contains at least 1,000ppm of fluoride
Taking these precautions is so important when your child’s teeth are still developing, as they reduce the risk of tooth decay, cavities and infections. If their mouth is not properly looked after, babies can still develop serious ailments. Even things like putting your child to bed with a bottle of milk can be harmful to their teeth, as the sugars from the milk or juice can remain on their teeth and gums for hours, In which time bacteria can already eat through the enamel, creating a condition known as ‘bottle mouth’, where the teeth become discoloured and in severe cases can lead to cavities and even tooth decay.
Creating allocated time slots for things such as feeding, drinking and brushing for young children is a great way to stay on top of their oral hygiene, and to keep cavities at bay. Ensuring that you child is brushing for at least two minutes, twice a day creates a standard for them to follow as they grow up.
Taking your child to the dentist
Children are notoriously afraid of going to the dentist; therefore taking your child to the dentist at a young age, around the time their first milk teeth come through, so they are able to get used to the environment and familiarize themselves with your dentist is a great way to help them conquer their fear, and to make the experience more fun and pleasurable for the whole family.
Going to see the dentist is free on the NHS for children under 18, so regular appointments allocated by your dentist are advised to make sure that your child’s teeth are developing properly.
To conclude, children need to have the right environment; care and knowledge to maintain a good level of oral hygiene whilst growing up, and instilling these routines and practices in them from a young age will help them keep their teeth healthy and will continue to do so as they grow up.
Consistent visits to the dentists are also essential to keep track of your child’s oral health and find solutions to any problems your child may be facing with their teeth or gums.
Have you got an infant ready to go to the dentist? Concerned about your young one’s oral hygiene? Why not get in contact with us today to see how we can help you!