Here at Wickham Dental, we are focused on ensuring that all our patients enjoy good oral health as well as offering treatments that can help with any issues. As the dentist in Wickham, we often get asked about how best parents can help their children to have healthy teeth and gums.
Children who enjoy good oral health are much more likely to become adults who take care of their teeth, and this can have a positive impact on the general health too. Here, we explain what parents can do to help achieve this.
Start brushing early
Brushing should start as early as when a baby develops their first tooth. Parents should use a super soft brush and a toothpaste that is designed to cater for infants. If in any doubt about what brush or paste to use, talk to the dentist in Wickham to get advice and guidance.
This early brushing has two main benefits. Firstly, it means that the teeth are being protected as soon as they arrive, and this can reduce the likelihood of deterioration later in childhood. Secondly, it helps to establish a routine of regular brushing so that it does not become difficult or problematic as the child gets older.
Brush after milk
Many children continue to have milk before bed into toddlerhood and beyond. It is a comforting routine and helps to settle them for sleep. However, it is important to brush their teeth after they have had their milk. If they go to sleep with milk on their teeth, then this can cause cavities to develop and general deterioration of the health of the teeth and gums.
Aside from milk, the main drink that should be consumed by children is water. Tap water has fluoride in it, which helps to protect the enamel of the teeth and is important for preventing cavities. It is also sugar free, which is beneficial.
Fizzy drinks should be reserved for special occasions only, as these can erode the teeth and compromise their strength. If offering juice, it is best to do this with a meal and only as a treat. Children who drink juice throughout the day have a much greater risk of needing treatment such as fillings from the dentist in Wickham.
Most parents are mindful of the fact that treats like sweets, chocolate and cakes should be kept to a minimum if they want their child to have healthy teeth and gums. However, there can be a lot of hidden sugar in foods that are not thought of as sweet. For example, many pre-prepared and ready meals feature a high sugar content. The ideal is to make home cooked meals from scratch. However, if this is not always possible, then parents should check the labelling on any pre-prepared foods they are buying.
Set an example
Parents can encourage their children to take care of their teeth and gums by setting them a good example. Brushing together is a great way of modelling how it is done. It is also a good idea for children to see their parents drinking mostly water as their main drink and only having sweet things as an occasional treat. They will then grow up to see this behaviour as normal and something to be copied.