Tips for Caring for Your Child’s Oral Health at Home
Dentists are slowly opening, but only for check-ups. Cleaning and drilling still isn’t permitted. Now is a great time to step up your children’s oral health routine at home. It’s so important to ensure you have the correct oral health routine in place as this can also help avoid toothaches and gum issues, especially when it’s difficult to get to your usual dentist during this uncertain time.
Gum and oral health expert, Dr Reena Wadia, Founder of RW Perio provides her advice on how to look after your children’s teeth, complete with some handy tips to make brushing their teeth less of a chore, and more of a fun experience!
Firstly, what type of toothbrush should your child be using?Always pick an age-specific toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are fine for children 3 and older and are more effective than manual toothbrushes.
Find a toothbrush with an easy-to-hold handle with cushioned non-slip grips, as well as one that your child loves. It’s also a good idea to have more than one brush to add variety if you can. Remember to replace the toothbrush or toothbrush head every 3 months.
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In terms of toothpaste, this needs to have the right amount of fluoride i.e. at least 1000 ppm. Fluoride protects the tooth from decay. You don’t need lots of toothpaste: a smear if 0-2 years old and a pea-sized if 3-5 years old. The key point here is spit and don’t rinse out the toothpaste otherwise you’re washing away all the good stuff. Set up some brushing rules! These should include: brushing every surface of the tooth twice a day (first and last thing in the day), brushing for at least 2 minutes and then flossing/use of interdental brushes once brushing has been mastered.
A few tips to make brush time fun (and easier):
— Sing your child’s favourite song or play your child’s favourite tune.
— Lead by example – join in with them.
— Stand behind them
— Put them or your lap.
— Use play to get your child to open their mouth.
— Lots of praise and encouragement.
— Plaque disclosing tablets are great to spot the plaque and make it more fun.
— There are many apps out there to help with brushing.
— Create a brushing chart and reward them with gold stars every time they brush. Maybe a treat if they’ve brushed twice a day for the full week.