Kids Oral Health – the best teacher is YOU
The Best Teacher your kids ever had? YOU. Your children are gorgeous, you want the very best for them, to grow up happy and healthy and able to take care of themselves. The very best teacher is always you – model best behaviours and your kids will reap the rewards.
Where to start?
Babyhood is the best place to start caring for your child’s oral health. Start wiping their gums clean until their first teeth emerge, so that when they reach Toddlerdom they are totally comfortable with oral hygiene routines and techniques to keep their teeth healthy.
Don’t forget, children don’t have the dexterity to brush their own teeth until they can tie their own shoelaces, so you will need to assist and then supervise until they reach the age of around 7 or 8 – or even later.
Baby teeth need love too!
Just because they’ll fall out eventually doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take good care of baby teeth. Not only will it set up good habits for life, decay in baby teeth can be painful and traumatic, and may set your child up to dislike the dentist from an early age.
Premature loss of baby teeth can contribute to crowding in adult teeth too. Practice brushing twice a day for 2 minutes, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, ( remember to spit – don’t swallow!) remembering to brush for at least two minutes at a time. You can use an egg timer, or one of the fun brushing songs you’ll find in our Kids Zone, or download a brushing song from the internet to keep the process happy.
Start flossing as soon as there are two teeth in contact. Warning – You may have to be dental assistant a little longer with flossing than with brushing.
My Dentist makes me smile…
Once the first tooth has been around for 6 months or so, it’s time for your first visit to the dentist (yay – we can’t wait to meet your little one!). Your Dentist will be well versed in making this a fun and simple visit. For your part, try to only speak of the dentist in a fun and positive manner without reference to any adult preconceptions of pain, fear or discomfort. Remain positive and your child will pick up your vibe.
After your first visit, keep your child’s regular scheduled Active Maintenance visits so they understand that this is an important and regular routine.
Don’t forget to check whether you are eligible for government programs such as the Child Dental Benefits Schedule [Family Tax Benefit A payments recipients] .
For strong healthy teeth, a healthy a balanced diet that includes loads of fresh vegetables, cheese and lean meat, is essential. Keep snacking to a minimum and watch those high sugar snacks and drinks. Water is always the best to drink.
Oops! – Accidents Happen.
Life is full of little mishaps, it’s best to know what to do in case your little one has a crisis.
Injury to gums or baby teeth;
- Apply pressure to the area to staunch bleeding use a cold wet cloth or gauze if it’s handy.
- An ice pop will help reduce the swelling, or an ice pack held to the cheek.
- Use pain meds if needed (Ibuprofen).
- Call your dentist.
- Watch for swelling, pain, fever or a colour change in the tooth.
A permanent tooth is chipped or broken;
- Collect the broken pieces if you can.
- Rinse your child’s mouth with warm water.
- Call your dentist and schedule a visit.
A permanent tooth is knocked out;
- Call your dentist immediately. If they are unable to see you, go to the ER at the children’s hospital.
- Find the tooth if possible – pick it up by the top (the eating surface) NOT the root.
- Place the tooth in a commercial saline solution if you have it, or in a container of milk or your child’s saliva. Don’t put the tooth in tap water. Your child can bite down on a gauze pad or a clean handkerchief to stem the blood flow and ease the pain.
- If you are able to, try replacing the tooth back in the socket (for teens or older children). They can bite down on some gauze to keep the tooth in place.
- If the tooth is stored in a container (rather than back in the socket), have your child bite down on a gauze pad or handkerchief to relieve bleeding and pain.
Play it Safe
Wear a custom made mouthguard for contact sports, and helmets for bikes, scooters and skateboards.
Set up your Little Ones with some good skills from an early age and have your accident checklist prepped to go – If you have any queries or concerns, call your dentist, that’s what they are there for after all.
See you at your next Active Maintenance visit!