Tooth Tips for Tiny Tots

Tooth Tips for Tiny Tots

With tooth decay in young Australian children at an alarmingly high number, caring for your young one’s oral health is of the utmost importance.

Tooth decay can interfere with your child’s ability to eat, sleep, speak properly, learn, or pay attention in school.

Here’s some simple dental care tips to get you on your way to caring for child's teeth and gums and setting your kids up with the right habits in looking after their teeth well into their adult years.

1. It’s never too early to start taking care of your child’s oral health.

Good dental care begins before a baby's first tooth appears. Even before your baby starts teething, it’s important to run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria.

Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt. This should be done very gently with a small, soft infant toothbrush and water. Fluoride toothpaste is recommended but should only be used when your child is at least 18 months of age and when they are able to spit out excess toothpaste.

You should brush your child's teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush themselves and continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance, which usually happens at around age 6.

Flossing is an important step to incorporate into your child’s daily dental routine once your child’s baby (primary) teeth start to fit closely together, usually between the ages of 2 and 6. Children usually develop the ability to floss on their own around the age of 10.

2. Get to the dentist early

Most adults need a dental checkup and cleaning two times a year and the same goes for kids. Booking a dentist visit a soon as your child’s first tooth pops or before they reach 1 years old is highly recommended. Your dentist will not only clean and provide a thorough oral exam, but will also guide you on proper brushing technique and cavity prevention, among other things. These visits can help find problems early and help kids get used to visiting the dentist so they'll have less fear about going as they get older.

3. Good diet is crucial

Help protect your child’s teeth and gums with a broad, healthy, vitamin rich diet and with foods high in calcium such as yoghurt, cheese, salmon, and broccoli – to name a few. 

Fruits and vegetables that contain a high volume of water, such as pears, melons, celery, and cucumbers are also a great choice.

Avoid sticky, chewy snacks and sugary drinks. If you do want to give your child a sweet treat try and do it straight after meal time when there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth and not as a snack in between meals. Water from a cup is best but if juice or soda drinks are consumed it is best to use a straw as this will protect teeth by reducing the amount of acid exposure to the tooth enamel.

4. Teach good brushing habits and technique

Help your young one brush by sitting them on your lap, facing away from you and cupping their chin with one hand, with their head resting against your body. Tilt the bristles toward the gums and gently brush teeth along the gum line in tiny little circles, touching every surface of each tooth.

Teach your children good habits and make sure they brush every morning and evening for about 2 minutes (30 seconds in each quadrant of the mouth).

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Simple tips on how to look after your children's teeth

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