”How To Keep Your Kids’ Teeth Healthy” is a collaborative post. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Always seek advice from a medical professional.
All parents want their kids to grow up and have healthy teeth. By enforcing good dental habits early and by taking the right measures, you can ensure that your kids preserve their pearly white smile. Here are just a few steps to looking after your kids’ teeth…
Maintain a good brushing routine
It’s important that your kids brush their teeth regularly. A dentist will recommend brushing for two minutes twice per day – once in the morning and once at night. You should encourage your kids to brush each tooth and not just brush aimlessly. As they get older, you may also be able to teach them how to floss (not ‘flossing’ as in the dance, which they may try and teach you as they get older).
You should start brushing your kids’ teeth as soon as they move from milk to solid food. For the first few years, you’ll probably want to brush their teeth for them. When they’re about six, they may be independent enough to brush their own teeth, although you may want to supervise at first.
Some kids love brushing their teeth, whilst others hate it. There are lots of fun ways to encourage brushing that could be useful if your child hates brushing. For instance, there are apps such as Brush DJ that play music for two minutes so that your kid knows how long to brush for (and they can boogie as they brush). You may also want to encourage your kids to choose their own toothbrush in the shop – there are lots of fun-themed toothbrushes out there for kids. Plus, your child is more likely to want to brush their teeth with a toothbrush they’ve chosen themselves and be more likely to take care of the toothbrush as well. You could also try brushing your teeth with your child for encouragement.
Use the right toothpaste
If your child is under three, you don’t want to be using regular fluoride toothpaste. This is because kids swallow more toothpaste than they spit at this age, which can lead to excessive consumption of fluoride. The teeth are also very sensitive to fluoride when being formed, and could end up with white spots (fluorosis) on them.
There are special infant toothpastes that you can use until the age of three when your child is able to spit (and even at this age you should only let them use a pea size of fluoride until they’re about seven and their adult teeth have started coming through).
Go for regular dental check-ups
It’s worth scheduling biannual trips to the dentist so that you can keep a close eye on your kids’ dental health. A dentist will be able to spot any signs of plaque build-up or decay so that they can be dealt with early – they may be able to teach your child how to brush properly if they think this is a problem.
It’s worth shopping around for a reliable dentist who is used to dealing with kids’ teeth health. You may be able to find family plan deals from certain dentists that could save you costs on dental treatment.
Look into orthodontic treatment
Braces could be worthwhile if your child has crooked teeth or gaps. Realigning the teeth will not just make them look better, but could also make brushing them easier.
Most kids don’t see an orthodontist until they reach their teens, but it’s possible to get a check-up as early as seven. Some kids are eager to get braces, while others hate the idea of them. Nowadays, there are much more options, including Invisalign braces – which are practically invisible. Whether you opt for Invisalign braces or regular braces or none, your child will be probably be glad to help with the decision.
Put a limit on sugar
While good dental hygiene can keep teeth healthy, consuming a lot of sugar will require dental hygiene to be a lot more thorough. Sugar helps to breed bacteria in the mouth, which then leads to tooth decay. Most kids can be taught the cause and effect, but many will still not be able to resist consuming lots of sugar if it is readily available, which is why you need to limit their consumption yourself.
Soft drinks are the biggest culprit for causing bad teeth in kids. They are full of sugar which gets swilled around the mouth, coating every tooth. Even though the odd soft drink may not do much harm harm, you should resist giving your kids nothing but juice and fizzy drinks. Encourage them to drink more water or use a few sugar-free substitutes (although too many of these is not advised either). Plus, drinking water is a great health habit for people to start at a young age.
When it comes to candy and chips, try to keep these as seldom treats. Such foods are also big tooth-wreckers and shouldn’t be snacked on freely.
Buy them a gumshield for sports
If you child gets involved in a contact sport such as martial arts or hockey, it could be worth buying them a gumshield, also known as a mouth guard. Some schools and clubs may not allow kids to participate unless they have this bit of kit, so you may find that you have to get one anyway.
Some of the best gumshields are the ones that mold to your kids’ teeth. These could be worth paying extra for as opposed to a basic non-fitted gumshield. Plus these can also be used at night if your child has trouble with grinding their teeth.
These are just some tips to help keep your children’s teeth healthy. Be sure to speak with your dentist for more tips and tricks.