The start of the school year is a great time to take a look at all routines, including your children’s dental care habits. It’s essential to prioritise your child’s oral care from teething babies through to toddlers and beyond because helping them develop a healthy relationship with their smile now will support their oral health throughout their life.
Dr. Lisa and Dr. Vanessa have put together their top kids’ care tips here, so you can get started on a great routine.
Instilling a Routine
Creating a positive and healthy oral care routine with your child from an early age will help ensure they enjoy good oral and dental health for the rest of their lives. When working oral care into your child’s everyday routine, it’s important to keep it consistent so it’s not a shock to them when it’s time to brush their teeth. This is key because if you skip it once or twice then they might think it’s optional and that’s when it can become challenging.
We recommend brushing before they get dressed as it can get quite messy. Brushing before food first thing in the morning and last thing at night will ensure the active ingredients in the toothpaste embed in the teeth and work effectively. Children should brush their teeth and gums twice a day for 2 minutes each time to ensure thorough cleaning is achieved and maintained.
It’s important that you choose a toothpaste that contains Fluoride for your child. Without this essential active ingredient, the toothpaste cannot protect your child’s teeth and gums properly.
Children’s mouths are 50 times more absorbent than their skin, so every ingredient that goes into your child’s toothpaste matters. Always use a clean, toxin-free, clinically proven formulation.
At Spotlight Oral Care, we use only the highest quality clean, active ingredients, and all of our oral care solutions are free from sulphates, microbeads, palm oils, parabens, triclosan, DEA, and SLS.
Children’s toothpastes should have a slightly lower amount of Fluoride and a milder minty taste, which is ideal for them, as their taste buds are very sensitive. Our Spotlight Oral Care Toothpaste for Children is a great option as it contains the active ingredient Fluoride, and is clinically proven to reduce and prevent early tooth decay. It comes in a strawberry flavor, strengthens enamel, and ensures gentle cleansing for kids of all ages.
When brushing, children should aim the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line and, using a gentle circular motion. Repeat on the inside surfaces and use a light back and forth action on the chewing surfaces of teeth. Gums require brushing too. Gums are where plaque starts to grow, forming along the gum line and growing down to the tip of the tooth. That’s why it’s so important to teach children to brush at an angle half on the gum and half of the tooth to ensure proper plaque control.
Remind children never to rinse their mouth out after brushing teeth. The active ingredients in toothpaste should embed and dissolve into the tooth surface. Rinsing will wash away all of those active ingredients. Instead, teach children to leave toothpaste in their mouth for extended protection against decay and gum disease.
Once your child is 6 months old, they should start to see a dentist, and begin a regular dental check-up routine. This will ensure any problems will be cared for professionally and will instil a solid oral care routine that they can enjoy for the rest of their lives.
When it comes to preventing cavities and infections and guiding you, as a parent, through their specific oral care needs, dentists always know best. If you wait until your child is complaining of dental pain, they will generally end up having to receive far more invasive treatment which is more painful and expensive. Prevention is key.
Make Oral Care Fun
There are several ways to make cleaning and brushing teeth fun for children.
Children always look up to their older siblings or parents so if they see you brushing they will want to be just like you.
Use an egg timer, set to 2 minutes, as a simple way to encourage your child to brush their teeth for the optimal time.
Using a reward chart is a perfect way to motivate your child to brush both morning and night. See rewardchart4kids.com for more.
Apps that you may find helpful include Brush DJ, Brush Up and Brush Teeth with the Wiggles, all of which encourage bruising and make oral care fun rather than a chore.