Wellness Tips | 28 September, 2020

Early Childhood Dental Advice

You’ve navigated your way through the terrible two’s and the toddler stage, and now it’s all about helping your child keep that good oral health care routine. By the age of three, they should have most, if not all of their primary/baby teeth. Don’t be concerned if they don’t, they could be a late bloomer which is perfectly normal. 

A Good Routine

Your kids' will still need your help with their oral health routine until about the age of 7 or 8. Once you hand the reins over to them it's a good idea to still supervise them. Think of yourself as their oral health coach. Teach them the correct ways to brush and floss and set a good example by doing it with them.

Children tend to swallow toothpaste when brushing so kid-friendly toothpaste is a good idea. Toothpaste designed for children has a lower level of fluoride and therefore is safer if they happen to swallow any. It’s also a great idea to get your children involved in picking their toothbrush and toothpaste to build a little excitement around their oral health routine.

A Balanced Diet

For young children getting the right nutrients is important for growth and development. For their oral health, keeping a balanced diet will help reduce any possible dental issues now and into the future.

Try limiting your child’s eating to mealtimes only. Snacking constantly through the day increases the number of acid attacks in our mouths. When we break from eating, our saliva is able to flush built-up plaque acids leftover from eating. If your child is always eating, the mouth doesn’t get a chance to neutralise these acids and the risk of decay can increase.

Encouraging your child to drink water instead of other alternatives will help them maintain good oral health. Sipping water during the day can stimulate saliva production and help your mouth wash away plaque acids and any bacteria leftover in the mouth. Drinking fluoridated water will also help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is a mineral that combines with the tooth enamel (outer surface) to strengthen it.

Dental Trauma

Now kids are sometimes a little rough and tend to go into things at a hundred miles an hour so dental trauma is a real possibility at this stage of life. Taking measures to avoid trauma is always a great idea.

If they are playing contact sports, ensure they have properly fitted mouthguards. Having a custom-made mouthguard from your dentist is recommended. A custom-made mouthguard will not only be more comfortable it will be more effective if there is any direct impact made with the mouth or jaw.

If your child chips, fractures, or suffers a dental trauma, contact your dentist immediately. If the tooth has been completely knocked out, immerse it in milk and contact your dentist. If you act quick enough your dentist may be able to replace the tooth. Read more about what to do in a Dental Emergency.

Did you know?

A tooth will start to die within 15 minutes of being knocked out! To increase its survival time, immerse it in milk or hold it in your mouth (just don’t swallow it)!

Losing Teeth!

As your kids get older they will start to get visits from the tooth fairy! Generally, they’ll start losing their baby teeth around the age of 6 or 7. If your child loses them before or after, don’t panic. Just like growing teeth, losing their teeth is an individual thing and early starters and late bloomers are perfectly normal.

Try to avoid pulling the teeth out with force. Let them naturally fall out to reduce the pain and blood that may be associated. Gently wiggling the tooth until it falls out is the best practice.

Once your child’s permanent teeth start to erupt it’s important to be consistent with their dental appointments. Keeping a regular dental schedule allows your child’s dentist to monitor the growth of their permanent teeth. Identifying dental issues early can make the treatment plan a little easier for your child.

With some structural or positional issues your dentist may recommend a specialist orthodontic evaluation. Early detection can mean an easier treatment process for some children. Treatment tends to occur when the jaw bones are still a little soft meaning the bones are more pliable and corrective procedures can work a little quicker than it would in their teens or in adulthood.

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