Reduce your kid’s time at the dentist with these simple steps
Cavities, tooth decay and dare we say it, gingivitis are all tooth-related problems nobody wants to face. When your kid’s dental health is at risk, the dentist’s chair may become all too familiar. Let’s be honest; it’s not an ideal family outing!
Encouraging good oral health is not only an essential part of your child’s developmental journey but if you get it right now, they are more likely to have fewer problems later down the road. Establishing a tooth brushing routine early that includes a healthy, low-sugar diet will set them up for life!
Want to reduce your kid’s time at the dentist? Here are our simple steps to get you started.
Start as you mean to go on
The moment your newborn is welcomed into the world, guess what? Their set of 20 milk or primary teeth is already beginning to develop under their jaw. This means good dental care can begin before your baby’s tooth first cuts through.
When you consider the amount of milk a baby consumes, all that precious, nutrient-filled breast or formula milk is packed full of sugars. Left unattended, then these sugars can cause acidic bacteria to form around their gum bed and teeth. Surprisingly, even babies can get tooth decay!
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to curb any harmful bacteria getting out of control:
- Use a clean, soft washcloth or specially formulated dental wipe to remove harmful bacteria from your babe’s gums gently
- As soon as the first tooth cuts, you can introduce a soft-bristled rounded toothbrush. Water is enough to wash away food and milk debris at this stage, but you can add a grain of rice sized blob of toothpaste. Fluoride-free toothpaste is an option at this stage, with gentler flavours.
- When your child’s teeth are close together, you can introduce flossing or a FlossBrush to get in between the hard to reach spots.
- Use a baby electric toothbrush! Not only are they bright and colourful, but most of them come with a handy two-minute timer and are easy to grip for little hands.
The best way to encourage your babe is to introduce toothbrushing as part of their daily routine in their first weeks of life. That way, it becomes normal very quickly, and you’ll have less of a battle on your hands when they get to the toddler stage.
Visit the dentist!
Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but visiting the dentist every six months helps keep your kid’s teeth in check. Not only will your dentist offer sound oral hygiene advice, but they can spot any hygiene concerns before they get out of control.
NHS dental care for children is free, and it is recommended that you book your child’s first appointment when their first tooth appears. That way, they become familiar with the environment and start building a relationship with their dentist.
Over time, dentists have become a bit of a monster amongst children. Pain, injections and having your teeth pulled out are enough to put anyone off! But for children, their time at the dentist can quickly become a negative experience that affects them for life. So, it’s better to encourage good oral hygiene practice early on to become a part of their routine for life.
Stickers, one of life’s greatest rewards
Kids love stickers. For a child, stickers are a sign that they have genuinely achieved something, that they are a success, and nothing is more rewarding than having one stuck to their school jumper! Just watch how excited your kid gets the next time you pick them up from nursery or school!
Sometimes children need that extra nudge of encouragement to brush their teeth. It’s not that they haven’t been doing it their whole life; it’s simply they just don’t want to. Using a sticker reward chart is a gamechanger. It is a moment of lasting gratification for the deeds that your kid has carried out that day.
You can go a step further by giving them a bonus reward at the end of the week or month for getting over X amount of stickers too.
Make tooth brushing fun!
Positive experiences make you want to come back for more, and children are no different. Although they might be used to a routine or are just getting started, they are less likely to want to join in if it’s not an enjoyable experience. So make it fun. You could include:
- Bathtime – the perfect place for an underwater adventure or a save the princess quest, bathtime is the best moment to brush your kid’s teeth. Their toothbrush can be part of the game; just make sure they don’t forget to brush those chompers too!
- Storytime – children love a good story, so why not use it to your advantage? Their toothbrush might have to rescue the townsfolk from a dragon or save the pea from their mouth! You can also get a little extra help from the likes of Hey Duggee, Biff & Chip and Peppa Pig with their wonderfully illustrated storybooks.
- The power of song – children and adults alike are recommended the universal “two minutes, twice a day” approach to brushing. So, let your kid pick their favourite song or make one up.
- Get involved – you are your child’s most significant role model, and if you can’t show them how to brush their teeth, no one can! Whether you let them brush your teeth or brush your teeth together, your kid will want to imitate your every move.
Everything your child eats affects their health. The more balanced and varied their diet is, packed full of essential vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables, the better their general and oral health will be.
Try and avoid high-sugar foods and drinks, and stick to low-sugar or sugar-free alternatives. You’ll thank us later!
Are you ready to spend less time at the dentist with your kid? With a few small changes to your daily routine, your next family outing can be spent somewhere more fun.