“Let’s go and brush teeth, mummy,” said no child ever. But learning to brush correctly from a young age is vital. Tooth decay is Australia’s most prevalent health problem yet is completely preventable and treatable with good dental hygiene and good food habits, which are formed in our early years. According to Paediatric Dentist, Dr Philippa Sawyer, children should brush their teeth as soon as they show, but will initially need help as baby teeth usually appear at around six months.
“Tooth decay occurs faster in children than in adults and children are often more prone to tooth decay in part due to over consumption of sugary foods and drinks,” explains Dr Sawyer. “Bacteria in the mouth convert sugars into acids which eat away at the surface of the tooth, causing wear and decay in the form of holes and cavities. If left untreated, decaying teeth cause pain and make it difficult to chew. It’s really important to instil good oral hygiene habits in children from a young age so these good habits are carried through into adulthood, otherwise issues like tooth decay can become a serious problem.”
But there is a way to brush up and make teeth cleaning fun. “By injecting some fun into teeth brushing time, kids are in a good position to learn life-long good dental hygiene habits,” explains Dr Sawyer. “Kids are more motivated by fun than by health or habit. By making teeth brushing time more of an experience, your child won’t see it as a chore anymore and can learn good dental care.”
Here, Dr Sawyer outlines some top dental care tips for teaching kids good oral hygiene.
1. Have A Creative Teeth Brushing Routine
“It’s important for kids to get into a routine of brushing their teeth twice daily, and the best way to learn this habit is to teach by example. Brushing reduces the risk of decaying teeth by 25 per cent. It’s also important that they learn to brush their teeth the same way every day, so that no tooth is missed. Start with their back teeth on the right hand side and work around to the left side. Brushing at the same time every day will also help create a routine. Make brushing teeth a game by asking your kids to show you their best crocodile jaw or lion roar to encourage a wide open mouth.”
2. Add Music & Brush For The Recommended Time
“Another fantastic habit to build is teaching kids to brush their teeth for a minimum of two minutes. Start by playing their favourite song and encourage them to brush their top teeth for one minute and then the bottom for one minute with a different song. Alternatively, choose a toothbrush with a light-up timer to help add some fun. This will ensure that they will reach every tooth.”
3. Choose A Colourful Appropriate Toothbrush
“As kid’s teeth and gums can still be a little sensitive, choose a soft bristled toothbrush and try pick one in their favourite colour. Soft bristles remove plaque and debris from the mouth very effectively. If the bristles are still a little too firm, soaking it in warm water for a few minutes will do the trick.
4. Make A Pea With The Toothpaste
“From the age of three, kids can graduate from using a grain of rice sized amount of toothpaste to a pea-sized amount. If kids are brushing correctly in a circular motion at a 45 degree angle, as well as inside, outside and in between their teeth, a pea-sized amount of tooth-paste will foam enough to cover all teeth.”
5. Get Milky White With Drinks
“Tooth decay is the second most costly diet related disease in Australia, according to the Australian Dental Association. We know that kids love sweet drinks, but make sure they don’t have any sugary drinks right before bed or a nap, particularly if they have just brushed their teeth. This will help with limiting the damage caused by sugar to the teeth and gums as well as encouraging better oral hygiene. Eating calcium rich foods such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, neutralise the damage caused by acid in the mouth.”
Want more info? Visit www.cardent.com.au for helpful tips, more information on kids oral care products and oral health kits or call CareDent, 1800 800 303.
How do you make teeth brushing fun for your children? Tell us below!…