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Tips for Looking After Your Child's Teeth | Dental Excel Blog

Looking After Your Child’s Teeth from the Very Start

Tips for Looking After Your Child's Teeth | Dental Excel BlogMany parents find it difficult to judge when and how you should begin looking after your child’s teeth. It is never too early to start teaching your child how to look after their teeth and gums, and helping them to understand the importance of a healthy mouth and smile.

According to US dental professionals, even before the teeth appear, parents should be paying attention to the soft tissues of a baby’s mouth, and suggest that a soft, clean cloth could be run gently over those tiny gums to remove bacteria and avoid damage to the equally tiny teeth behind them.

When do the first baby teeth appear, and what should we do when they arrive?

Generally speaking, the front teeth appear first – two on the top and two at the bottom – at any time around six months of age. The rest of the baby teeth will gradually appear after that, until the age of around 2 and a half, when all 20 first teeth should be visible.

Very young children often suffer with teething problems as the first teeth break through the gums, resulting in symptoms such as (but not always):

  • Red cheeks
  • Swollen, painful gums
  • Raised temperature
  • Dribbling
  • Difficulty sleeping

Teething troubles can be eased with cooled teething rings that are widely available at pharmacies across Australia, or by gently massaging the child’s gums.

Brushing should begin as soon as the first tooth appears, with a soft, baby toothbrush and water. Baby toothbrushes are specially designed to be extra soft.

Opinions differ, however, on the use of toothpaste. Some dental professionals are against the use of toothpaste before the age of two, but others recommend a tiny amount of specially-formulated baby toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Everyone agrees that swallowing toothpaste should be avoided!

Speak to your own dentist about looking after your child’s teeth, and take your child to the dentist with you. Starting this regular routine early is the key to making sure your child gets off to the right start with dental hygiene.

Why it is important to establish a good routine early for your child’s teeth and gums

The baby teeth are the first teeth your child has, and they form a basis for the second, permanent teeth, which will begin to arrive around the age of six. Although the first teeth will fall out, they still need to be meticulously cleaned and looked after professionally to ensure a healthy set of permanent teeth will follow.

Getting everyone involved in looking after your child’s teeth

Getting young children involved in looking after their teeth and gums is crucial if they are to get on the right road to a healthy smile in later life. It is not always easy to persuade young children to do this, but there are a few tricks you can have up your sleeve to help establish a fun, regular routine, such as:

  • Find dental hygiene books and online videos developed especially for kids
  • Encourage your child to select their own toothbrush, or choose one in their favourite colour – remember that children’s toothbrushes are specially developed for tiny mouths, so ensure you pick a dedicated baby toothbrush
  • Encourage a daily routine of morning brushing after breakfast, and evening brushing before bedtime
  • Play a fun or favourite song for two minutes to encourage brushing over a period of time
  • Avoid sugary drinks or treats. This is the perfect time to introduce healthy snacks for children that won’t harm their teeth. (have a look at our recent blog post here for some ideas).
  • Offer a reward for good dental hygiene
  • Do something fun after a dentist appointment

Parents of young children want to make sure cavities are avoided, and looking after your child’s teeth right from the start can give them the perfect grounding for a healthy mouth and smile.

Dental Excel dentists take a fun, holistic approach to children’s dental care, and nothing pleases us more than to teach our young visitors how to look after their teeth and gums. Come and see us with your children, meet our special teddy that helps look after them while they are here, and start your child on the right path to a happy, healthy smile that they can keep for life with Dental Excel.

Finding Healthy Snacks for Children | Pleasing Parents and Kids | Dental Excel Blog

Six Healthy Snacks for Children That Won’t Harm their Teeth

Finding Healthy Snacks for Children | Pleasing Parents and Kids | Dental Excel BlogFinding treats and healthy snacks for children to eat between meals can deliver a battle for some parents. It is about pleasing them, and getting them to choose something healthy at the same time.

Sugary snacks and drinks will please them, but can also lead to dental health issues later, such as cavities, so let’s take a look at some great alternatives to sugar-filled snacks that won’t harm their teeth.

The earlier in life you begin the introduction of healthy snacks, the easier it will be to offer them.

Vegetable sticks

Carrots, celery sticks and broccoli make wonderful healthy snacks for children, but some kids can be tricky to convince! Getting them used to a wide variety of raw and cooked vegetables when they are at toddler stage is the key to success.

Great ‘portable’ snack food for trips to the park.

Fresh Fruit

Strawberries, raspberries, grapes and apples are much healthier snacks for children, but do contain heavy natural sugars. While natural sugars can still affect the enamel of the teeth, as sugars turn acidic in the mouth, they are still far less harmful than the processed sugars contained in many snack foods.

Dried fruits, such as raisins, apples, pitted dates, cranberries, apricots and banana also make great snack foods for kids, and are easy to pack for days out.

Encourage your child to drink water and rinse the mouth after eating fresh fruits.

Whole grain bread with peanut butter

This is more like it! Many children love the taste of peanut butter, and it contains the type of fat the body needs. Using whole grain bread rather than sugar-laden white bread inhibits the sugar intake, and is much healthier for the teeth.

You could try cream cheese, vegemite or similar spreads to give to kids who don’t like, or can’t eat nuts. Plain crackers also make a good alternative to bread.

If your child is prone to allergies, consult your GP before giving whole grains or nuts.

Cheese

The calcium content of most cheeses makes for a healthy snack for children of all ages. Cheese is also useful in its ability to help neutralise plaque acids in the mouth.

Buy ‘portable’ snack cheeses or cut into manageable chunks for trips out.

Popcorn

Popcorn is a traditional movie-goer food, but over recent years has become widely available in a variety of flavours. Try to avoid the syrupy-flavoured, sugar-filled varieties and instead go for a plain or salted popcorn, which makes the best snack food for children and is great for outdoors snacking.

Flossing after eating popcorn should be encouraged, as the kernel cases can easily become lodged between the teeth.

Yoghurt

Although yoghurt can be messy, particularly with young children, it makes a great healthy snack food. Plain yoghurt is better for the teeth, rather than using fruit-filled varieties, but you could add manageable chunks of fresh fruit yourself for a tasty treat.

Yoghurt can also be frozen into delicious ice lollies for warmer spells.

It is worth experimenting with different combinations of foods to produce healthy snacks for children. Many parents understand the benefits of teaching children from an early age to appreciate fresh foods, not only for healthy teeth and gums, but for better general health. Learning how to brush and floss the teeth is also critical to give your children the best chance of a healthy smile.

Dental Excel support you in your search for healthy snacks for children

Dental Excel dentists can work with parents to determine a regular dental care routine for your child. We enjoy showing the next generation how to keep their smiles bright and their teeth healthy, and know how to make a routine visit to the dentist a good experience for them.

Contact us today and make your family appointment at Dental Excel. With high-quality dentistry at all five practices across the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, Dental Excel has a friendly and professional dentist local to you.



IDM