General Dentistry

Top tips for teaching your kids good dental habits

Published on 20/09/2016

Dental habits are formed at a very young age. In this article, we look at Leigh Dental Centre’s top tips to ensure that your children grow up with good dental habits helping to keep their smile for a lifetime.

Lead by example

Ideally, your toddler should see you brush your teeth in the morning and evening. If you normally do this while they are in bed, try to alter your routine and make brushing a family occasion. This may mean you brush your teeth more than twice a day, but this can only help to further improve your oral hygiene. You can even let your children help you brush your teeth just like you help them!
All children up to the age of three should have toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm. Older children should have toothpaste with a fluoride level between 1350ppm and 1500ppm.

Make it fun

Why not link brushing their teeth to a story incorporating the knight (the toothbrush) and the goblins (bacteria) in an epic struggle in the mine (their mouth). They will need to keep their mouth open so you can fully see all the characters and ensure that good triumphs over evil.

You could also play one of the many toothbrushing songs available online or one of their favourite songs to ensure that they brush for two minutes. This will ensure that from a young age, your children understand how long they need to brush their teeth for to ensure that they remove all the plaque.

Incorporate technology

An electric toothbrush can be a great way to motivate children to brush their teeth. Many now include their favourite cartoon characters and also incorporate a timer to ensure they brush for two minutes.
The newest technology will also link their toothbrush to specially designed apps which track how often they brush their teeth, for how long and how effectively they brush.
Even if you do not have an electric toothbrush there are a number of apps that can be used to track how often you brush your teeth.

Show what’s being missed

Using disclosing tablets once a month can provide a great visual aid, to show those areas that are being missed. By joining in you can show that everyone misses spots sometimes, but with a good brushing technique, all areas can be cleaned.

Attend regular dental appointments

Studies have shown that a child’s fear of the dentist is directly linked to their parent’s behaviour towards dental visits. By making sure that you bring your child in for appointments from a young age they can learn that there is nothing to fear from the dental chair.
To begin with, the dentist will simply get them to sit in the dental chair, first with a parent or guardian and then on their own. They may also ask if the child will open their mouth. This helps to build confidence and reduces any fear associated with the dentist. Baby teeth will begin to emerge at around 6 months and a child will have a full set of teeth by the time they are two and a half.

Other tips to help children protect their smile

Reduce the amount and frequency of sugary foods and drinks

It is important to keep sugary foods and drinks for mealtimes, helping to protect your child’s teeth from frequent sugar attacks that can lead to tooth decay.

Wear a mouthguard when playing sport

Wearing a mouthguard while playing sports can help to protect your teeth from damage. Ensuring that they last a lifetime.

Consider fluoride varnish applications

Fluoride varnish provides extra protection against tooth decay when used in addition to brushing. Fluoride varnish is a pale-yellow gel that sets quickly when applied to children’s teeth using a soft brush. The varnish sets quickly, and has a pleasant taste and a fruity smell. Scientific studies have shown that fluoride varnish gives added protection to teeth against decay when used in addition to brushing teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste.

Spit don’t rinse

After toothbrushing just spit out your toothpaste. Do not rinse your mouth as this will wash away the fluoride protection.

If you would like more help and advice with regard to tooth brushing for children do not hesitate to ask the dentist when you next visit. Call Leigh Dental Centre today on 01702 472929 and book a consultation.