Your child’s oral hygiene starts with you, and teaching them good habits. You can start brushing your baby’s gums gently before any teeth have come through.
When their teeth do appear you should use fluoridated toothpaste and an infant toothbrush twice a day. Up to the age of six you should be choosing toothpastes with 1,000 parts per million fluoride. After the age of seven it should contain 1,350-1,500 ppm. The package will indicate the fluoride ratio.
Under the age of three a simply smear on the brush of toothpaste is sufficient, from ages three to six a pea sized blob.
As soon as there are two teeth touching each other you should begin flossing. This should be done just before bedtime.
A healthy teeth cleaning routine is essential to your child’s long term dental health.
Each tooth brushing session should last two minutes. It should be done some time during the day, and once before bed. Ideally it should be done first thing in the morning to get your child into the correct habits at an early age. You should encourage them to spit the excess toothpaste out, but not to rinse as that’s washed away the fluoride, making it less effective.
To ensure your child is brushing their teeth properly you should supervise them until they are eight years old. Whether that means doing the brushing yourself, or by watching them do it. By the time they reach the age of eight the training should have stuck, though you might want to give surprise inspections from time to time.
In order to train them properly you should help them when they start brushing by guiding their hand so they feel the right movements. Use a mirror so they can see where the brush is cleaning. You can add fun to the process by using an egg timer. There are also colored tablets that your child can chew which the child can brush off, ensuring they reach every area.
Once your child has teeth it’s time to take them to the dentist. It’s important to get them familiar with the dental environment, and to get to know the dentist so that they are comfortable. The dentist can help identify any oral health issues early on, as well as offer advice and help prevent decay. It’s important that you are positive about trips to the dentist and make the trips fun so that your child doesn’t worry about future visits.
Ensure that you visit the dentist regularly, as advised by your dentist.
For added protection ask your dentist about fluoride varnish and fissure sealants. Fluoride varnish can be applied to baby teeth, as well as adult teeth. The varnish is applied to each tooth every six months in order to prevent decay. This should be done twice a year for children over the age of 3.
Once your children have permanent back teeth fissure sealants can be done to protect from decay. It is a thin plastic coating that keeps germs and food particles from the grooves of the teeth and lasts up to 10 years.