How do I care for my children’s teeth?
It is best to begin a daily cleaning routine by the time your baby’s first teeth begin to erupt, which occurs around 6 months of age. Teeth should be brushed each morning and night, following both breakfast and dinner.
- For babies without teeth, a wet gauze or cloth can be used to remove plaque from gums.
- As teeth start to erupt from the gum, a moist small soft toothbrush can be used to brush.
- For better control, gently cradle the back of your child’s head with your hand or lap.
What toothpaste should I use?
From the time your child is able spit the toothpaste from their mouth, without swallowing it, after brushing their teeth, a pea sized amount of adult toothpaste can be used. The same pea sized amount of low fluoride children’s toothpaste should be used before this time. Swallowing too much high fluoride toothpaste may cause mottling of the enamel in the developing adult teeth.
When should I begin to floss?
Start flossing when the baby teeth come into contact with one another. This usually occurs around 18 months of age.
How can I help?
Children require adult supervision of oral hygiene until they are 8 to 9 years old or until you are confident that they are brushing effectively every morning and night. If you unsure, speak to your dentist during their 6 monthly check up. Children below the age of four lack the manual dexterity to brush properly.
What age should I begin visiting the dentist?
Ideally your child’s first check-up should occur at 12 to 18 months of age or earlier if you have any concerns. Bringing your child to your or an older siblings check-up will help them feel comfortable and familiar in the dental surgery. It is important that with each visit your child’s oral health and hygiene improve through confidence and education.
I don’t know what to do about thumb and dummy sucking?
In babies thumb and dummy sucking is normal and often provides comfort. However, when adult teeth begin to erupt, around the age of 6 years, thumb and dummy sucking can cause misalignment of these adult teeth and supporting bone. If a child has not stopped thumb or dummy sucking by this age, gently encourage them to stop. If this encouragement does not work, ask your dentist about other positive methods that can stop the habit. A well-designed dummy is less likely to cause future orthodontic problems.
How can I protect my child’s teeth during sports?
If your child plays or enjoys other activities where the teeth are at risk, they should be wearing a mouthguard. In children, accidental injury to teeth is the second most common cause of tooth loss and damage, after tooth decay. A custom mouthguard can be made and fitted by a dentist. This type of mouthguard is more effective and comfortable then prefabricated mouthguards from pharmacies or sports shops.
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