Having good dental hygiene habits is an important part of your child’s development and is best learned from a young age. Teaching children proper oral care is an investment in their health and wellbeing for the future. There is research that links poor dental health to other serious diseases,
including an increased risk of heart disease.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways to keep teeth strong and healthy from childhood to old age. I’ve caught up with Sydney (Australia) based celebrity dentist Dr. Michael Tam. Dr. Tam is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and loves working with children.
Dr. Tam shares his top 5 tips for keeping your child’s teeth healthy:
It starts with you
Set a good example: young children are like sponges, they watch and learn from the things we do. Taking care of your own teeth and brushing regularly in front of your child will send the message that it’s an important activity that is part of normal daily routine.
Develop good cleaning habits
Encourage your child to brush their teeth twice a day. Use a pea-sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste to minimize swallowing. Teach them to clean the outer surface of the teeth by gently brushing back and forth, and then repeat the same action on the chewing surface, and don’t forget the tongue. Make teeth brushing an enjoyable activity; let them pick a toothbrush in their favorite color or with a cartoon character on it they like. This will help to make them look forward to brushing their teeth. We also use the Disney Magic Timer app that helps my kids brush for 2 minutes.
Encouraging your children to eat a healthy and nutritious diet that limits sugary foods, along with many other benefits, will reduce the amount of plaque producing acids that cause decay. Of course,
cutting sugar out altogether can be challenging, so if you do want to give your children treats, the
best time is straight after a meal when there is extra saliva in the mouth to provide extra protection for the teeth.
It’s in the water
Need another reason to encourage your children to drink water? Fluoride is an important way to strengthen and protect developing teeth and that’s why it’s in toothpaste. Many water supplies are now also fluoridated with just the right amount to help ward off tooth decay. To find out whether your water contains fluoride, you can contact your local water supplier. If your water supply lacks fluoride, or you prefer bottled water, you can request a daily fluoride supplement from your dentist or pediatrician.
I do recommend that you take your child to a specialist children’s dentist before their first birthday. Not only will this make sure you have the information you need for good oral hygiene, it will also help your child get used to going to the dentist from a young age. Children should have had their first dental appointment by the age of two. After the first visit, ensure your child has regular check-ups to encourage this as part of a life long routine.
Follow these five simple tips and you will be on the right path to great dental habits and hygiene for