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Maintaining Your Child’s Dental Hygiene

Published: 21 September 2022

We all know that maintaining good oral health is important in helping us to enjoy a beautiful, healthy smile. As adults, we brush and floss to keep our teeth clean and white and we look after our gums, ensuring they are in the best condition – so that we can smile with confidence. But what about our kids? Should we be as equally conscientious with our children’s teeth?

The answer is a resounding yes. Maintaining children’s dental hygiene is vital; not only for their oral health, but also their overall health. There is an important connection between the mouth and the rest of the body, called the oral-systemic link. This means that the health of the mouth directly impacts the health of the body.

Studies have shown that poor children’s oral health is linked to numerous health concerns including, amongst others, heart conditions, diabetes, and inflammation. All of which we naturally want to protect our children from.

Of course, poor oral health can lead to tooth decay and tooth loss, which can impact the mental health of a child. Kids with decayed teeth, bad breath, or gaps in their smile may endure bullying at school, and although we expect to lose milk teeth, when these teeth fall out before they are due to, this can impact how the adult teeth grow in.

It is for these reasons that establishing excellent oral health in the early years of a person’s life is crucial. While we know that getting children to brush their teeth can be a daily battle, both morning and night, it is one worth fighting – and ultimately one they will thank you for in later life.

Establishing a dental routine

Children should start brushing their teeth as soon as their first tooth appears. In most cases, this occurs while the child is still a baby and will be unable to use a toothbrush themselves. At Clyde Munro, we recommend using a soft baby or toddler toothbrush, or a finger brush, with a small smear of age-appropriate, fluoride-containing toothpaste.

Your dental team can recommend the best toothbrushes and toothpastes that will make the job easier. Introducing this regime morning and night as soon as that first little tooth appears will help you to create a positive routine that your child will become accustomed to.

Part of maintaining a great oral care regime is regular dental visits. We advise bringing your child to the dental practice as early as possible, and even to your own appointments. This helps them to become used to the sights, sounds and smells of the clinic, meaning that when the time comes for their first appointment, they will be more confident and less wary of seeing their dentist.

A child’s first dental check-up should be around six months, or when the first tooth appears. Your dentist will advise how often to attend for optimum children’s dental care and your dental team will provide useful tips and advice as your child grows and develops. They can show you toothbrushing and flossing techniques that can make it easy and fun for you and your child and answer any questions you might have. Thinks of them as part of your extended support network.

As your child develops, they will eventually be able to brush their teeth for themselves. You may find that they want to start doing this quite early on, especially if they are particularly independent. We recommend supervising toothbrushing until your child is fully competent in cleaning all of their teeth, usually around eight years old. Don’t let them away with doing a rushed job, missing those important back teeth!

To help your child brush for the full two minutes, try using a special app such as Brush DJ that they can dance along to, or the Oral-B Disney Magic Timer that awards badges and prizes.

Just like you, your children should floss their teeth. This should be introduced as soon as they have teeth that touch side by side. While this may seem early in their development, it’s another skill that can become second nature.  Establishing good habits early on in your child’s life gives a greater chance of excellent oral health for their future, because you will be creating a positive routine that will stick with them for life.

Children’s dental tips

Here are our top tips for establishing excellent oral health for your child:

  • Start good oral care early – Incorporating a toothbrushing and flossing routine, twice a day, helps to instil great oral health habits that are more likely to last into adulthood.
  • Regular use of fluoride – Fluoride helps to protect the teeth, which is why we always recommend using a fluoride-containing toothpaste. There are different ones available for different ages, and it’s important to use the correct one for your child. Too much or too little fluoride can be harmful to developing teeth. If you are unsure, your dental team can help.
  • Fluoride varnish – On the subject of fluoride, we are pleased to provide fluoride varnishing in our Clyde Munro clinics as part of our work with Childsmile. This provides extra protection against tooth decay, is quickly and easily applied, and it tastes nice too. The service is free of charge and offered twice a year.
  • Limit or avoid sugary food and drinks – We all know that sugar is your dentist’s worst enemy because regular consumption can lead to dental decay and cavities. While we are not opposed to the odd treat here and there, it is important to limit how much your child has and how often they have it.
  • Visiting the dentist – Regular dental check-ups are vital for maintaining great oral health as we can spot problems early on before they become too serious. We are here to provide support and help you to care for your child’s teeth through our variety of children’s dentistry services, and we enjoy seeing our young patients grow into healthy adults with beautiful healthy smiles!

Would you like your family to join the Clyde Munro dental family? Please contact your local Clyde Munro practice today and let’s chat about how best we can help you.