Children's Dental Health
Why is dental health important to children?
As soon as your child's milk teeth come through, keeping on top of their oral hygiene as you do your own is really important. Not only does it help keep your child's teeth in tip top shape for now, but good dental hygiene practises will go a long way to helping promote healthy teeth in the future, all the way into adulthood too.
How can I help encourage proper dental hygiene?
The best way to help encourage your children to look after their teeth is to encourage them with tooth brushing, and being enthusiastic about visits to the dentist - both of which are vital to their oral health.
Teeth cleaning is something that should be done for two minutes, twice a day at home, and should begin as soon as the first teeth come through at around six months of age. Make sure you opt for an appropriate toothbrush and toothpaste - your dentist is best placed to advise what's most suitable for your child.
From the age of seven or eight, your child will be able to brush their teeth themselves - just be sure to keep an eye on them to ensure that they're taking proper care over the task! A mirror is always helpful, so your child can see where they're brushing, and using a timer can be really beneficial in making sure they're brushing for the right amount of time.
Visiting the dentist
Alongside proper oral care at home, regular visits to the dentist are also important for maintaining healthy teeth. It's encouraged to take your children to the dentist as soon as their first teeth appear - this is largely so that they can used to the unfamiliar environment, and feel at ease with visiting again in the future.
As they grow, the dentist will be able to prevent any decay, as well as keep an eye on any oral health concerns that may come to light. Don't forget - NHS dental care is free for children.
It can be a worrying environment for young children, but enthusiasm and encouragement from you, the parent, can go a long way to making them feel comfortable, and maybe even fun!
Your child’s teeth development:
- Teething (0 - 12 months) It’s always exciting when the first tooth arrives. And it’s the perfect time to get your baby used to the feeling of gentle tooth brushing.
- First dentist trip (2 years) The baby teeth period is coming to an end. Your child’s first trip to the dentist should be an exciting adventure – if you’re nervous of visiting the dentists, try not share it with your little one.
- Introducing the tooth fairy (3-7 years) When big teeth arrive, so should flossing. Teach your child to get in-between those gaps. And if they’re still sucking their thumb, it’s time to stop – at this stage it can affect tooth alignment.
- Good habits (7 - 10 years) As your child says goodbye to the tooth fairy, along with their last milk tooth it’s time to reinforce good dental hygiene habits – the teeth they have now should be with them for life!
- Straighter smiles for teenagers (10 -13 years) By now, all 28 teeth should have come through. And a full set of teeth can struggle to find room, so orthodontic treatment might be worth considering. A straight smile can make a big difference to your teenager’s confidence!