Healthy Dental Habits for Healthy Kids Part 2/3

This is the second article in a series of three about keeping your kid’s healthy, with a focus on dental hygiene and dental care.

How you care for your child’s teeth will affect their ability to learn and to grow up healthy. By encouraging good oral health habits in your family, you will keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong and give them a smile to treasure for a lifetime. Throughout this three part series we are giving you tips on how to successfully start on the road to that lifelong, sparkly white smile. This second part of our three part series on Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids focuses on the act of tooth brushing, from the choosing of the right toothbrush to how to brush the smart way.

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

Why not make tooth-brushing time a fun time? There are so many brands of toothbrush available in many different colours, shapes and sizes; some even have musical timers to ensure correct length of brushing time. The following are some tips to help you make the right choice when choosing your child’s toothbrush:

  • Choose a child size toothbrush with soft, round-tipped, nylon bristles. Stiff or sharp bristles can injure gums and wear down tooth enamel.
  • Choose a size and a shape that is comfortable and lets your child reach every surface of every tooth. A small compact head is best.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush when the bristles look bent or worn, usually every two to three months, or more frequently if your child wears the bristles more quickly.
  • Bring your child with you and help them select their own toothbrush. A brightly coloured, ‘fun’ toothbrush may encourage your child to brush.
  • Electric toothbrushes are becoming very popular with children and are very effective. Ask your dentist for advice about choosing the correct one.

Be Toothpaste Savvy

Toothpaste, which contains fluoride, is an important tool in fighting tooth decay, but do you know how much (if any) to use? Really it depends on the age of your child.

  • Firstly use an adult fluoride containing at least 1200 parts per million.
  • For children less than 2 years old start cleaning with a piece of gauze or a soft brush with water.
  • Bring your child to the dentist before their first birthday and ask about using fluoride toothpaste.
  • At 2 years of age supervise your child using a pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste.
  • Teach your child to spit out but not rinse out after brushing with fluoride.
  • Do not allow your child to suck toothpaste and supervise brushing at all times.

Be a Role Model

As a parent, you are the most important role model for your child. Help your child develop proper brushing techniques by setting a good example with your own oral health. Remember – Wait 1 hour after eating or drinking before brushing to allow the teeth to re-harden.

Brush the Smart Way – Techniques for You and Your Children

  • Brush at least twice a day with a pea-size amount of adult fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use a soft nylon bristle brush with a small compact head.
  • Place the brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and use a gentle scrubbing technique.
  • Brush the outer, the inner, and the biting surfaces of each tooth, including the part close to the gum line.
  • Use the front tip of the brush for the inner surface of the front teeth.
  • Apply light pressure while brushing. Tooth enamel can be worn down by vigorous scrubbing.
  • Encourage your child to brush for at least 2 minutes each time they clean their teeth.
  • Children under 7 will need help from an adult when cleaning their teeth.
  • For babies, wipe gums with a soft cloth or gauze from the pharmacy and water in areas where the teeth have not yet appeared.

Here at Lyons Financial Services we are delighted to work with DeCare Dental. They provide specialist dental insurance and oral health advice and we thank them for their aid and advice in writing this series of oral health articles.