Parents sometimes fall into the trap of neglecting children’s dentistry. The reasoning is that milk teeth will ultimately receive replacements—which, to be fair, is solid reasoning. Having said that, we at The Fine Tooth Company urge parents to avoid this line of logic. A healthy set of chompers will strongly influence how your child speaks, smiles, and chews.
More to the point, early dental health is strongly formative to dental health later in life. Leave decaying milk teeth untreated and you’re setting up a mouth for abscesses, infectious spreads, and even malformed adult teeth.
As regards that lattermost point, milk teeth are important ‘placeholders’ for when adult teeth finally come through. If their base is mangled, they’ll be off to a rough start. With that in mind, here are six tips for keeping your child’s teeth as healthy as possible. They may not be here for life, but they are paving the way for oral health now and in years to come.
1.Ease into dental habits early
We’re not saying your toddler should undertake a full-fledged adult dental routine the minute their teeth erupt. However, you should encourage a dental routine as the teeth arise and form. Even before the teeth erupt, you should give the gums a once-over with a damp cloth—just to keep the germs at bay.
But the key question here is when should your child start brushing (or maybe even flossing)? As soon as the teeth make headway, you should brush them using an infant toothbrush, water, and a rice grain’s worth of fluoride toothpaste. And when two teeth begin to touch is when you can start flossing them.
At age two, you should teach your child to spit after brushing (but not rinse using water just yet, as this may inadvertently encourage them to swallow toothpaste). From age three, you can upgrade the toothpaste from the size of a rice grain to the size of a pea. But whatever you do, always ensure to supervise children under eight whilst brushing. Kids tend to swallow things they enjoy tasting. Remember that childhood urge to swallow chewing gum?
2.Switch from a baby bottle to a sippy cup
At six months old, switch up that rubber-teated baby bottle for a sippy cup (with either a hard spout or a straw). It may sound nonsensical, but it’s a way to distribute fluids directly to the gullet without causing sugary, collateral damage to the teeth. Did you know that sugars from juice, milk, and even baby formula can cause tooth decay? One easy hack is to switch out the receptacle, in addition to caring for your baby’s teeth as described above. Once our baby turns one, they’ll have the motor skills to hold the sippy cup unassisted!
3.Take your child to the dentist by their first birthday
It may sound early, but considering our first round of advice, are you even surprised we’re advocating for this? Getting your child checked out before their first birthday is an educational opportunity for you as a parent. You get to hear, straight from the horse’s mouth, which brushing and flossing techniques are right for your child at this point in time. Regular dental checkups throughout childhood also desensitise your child to any fear they may associate with dentistry.
Dentistry for children should be led by a dentist specialising in children’s dentistry. The Fine Tooth Company is something of a children’s dentist in Croydon that offers a range of child-friendly treatments. You can even take advantage of the Child Dental Benefit Schedule scheme (CDBS) if your child is eligible! Call us on (03) 9723 1100 to book an appointment or head to our online booking portal.
4.Ensure they’re getting enough fluoride
Assuming you live near our dentist in Croydon, a lack of fluorided water won’t be an issue. But on the off chance your child is not consuming fluorided water, you should ask your dentist for some fluoride supplements. Just because your child is brushing with fluoride toothpaste doesn’t mean they’ll receive the full dental protection they require!
Fluoride is a tricky balancing act: whilst you need it to strengthen teeth, too much can cause tooth discolouration. Speak to your dentist before investing in fluoride supplements.
5.Limit or avoid sugar
This is a pretty standard tip, right? Of all the things you can put in your mouth, sugar wreaks the most havoc on the teeth. Unfortunately, sugar shows up in sweetened and natural products alike. Watch out for fruit juices and lollies—especially the latter’s stickest, gummiest offenders, among which include gummy vitamins and fruit leather (Roll-ups, anyone?). If your child ingests any of these—or even sweetened medicines—have them rinse their mouth or brush their teeth afterwards whenever possible. Sugar can be a fast track to cavities or even enamel erosion.
6.Don’t shy away from dental visits
We touched on this in point 3, but it bears repeating: take your child to the dentist often and whenever necessary. For adults, the standard recommendation is every six months. For children, it can be anywhere from every three months to once per year. It ultimately boils down to the advice of the dentist you’re working with. And, of course, if your child complains of toothaches or similar dental issues in the meantime, don’t be afraid to book an appointment ahead of the standard checkup.
Introduce dental appointments and healthy habits early in life and you’re setting the stage for a mouth full of healthy adult teeth. If you’re seeking a children’s dentist or cosmetic dentist in croydon, look no further than The Fine Tooth Company. Not only do we have some of the best children’s dentists in Croydon, but we also have the Child Dental Benefit Schedule scheme (CDBS) available if you need it. Give us a call on (03) 9723 1100 or book an appointment online via our booking portal. We can’t wait to meet you and your family!