How to keep your child’s mouth clean
When it comes to keeping your child’s mouth clean, starting an oral hygiene routine as early as possible is key. Here are just some of the steps you can take to ensure your child grows up with strong, healthy teeth and gums.
- Oral hygiene starts immediately. Setting up your child for a lifetime of good oral health begins just a few days after birth. Clean your baby’s gums and the inside of their cheeks with a soft cloth or gauze every day. This removes plaque from their mouth and will get your child accustomed to the routine of cleaning their mouths daily.
- Don’t hold on to the dummy for too long. Allowing your child to use a dummy for too long can lead to the structure of their mouths changing, poorly aligned teeth and other dental issues. It’s for this reason that the British Dental Association recommends that children should stop using dummies after they turn one.
- Build strong habits. It’s important to brush your child’s teeth twice a day as soon as they get their first tooth. Once two teeth are touching, it’s time to floss. When your child is close to having a full set of teeth, their teeth need to be brushed for at least two minutes at a time.
- Use a child-friendly toothpaste and toothbrush. Stick to toothbrushes specially developed for little mouths. These toothbrushes are smaller and designed to work with a mixture of baby and adult teeth. A great bonus is that these toothbrushes are often decorated with cartoon characters, which helps to make brushing time especially appealing. When it comes to toothpaste children under three should use a toothpaste containing between 1350 – 1500 ppm fluoride.
- Watch out for hidden sugars. It’s common knowledge that sugar is bad for teeth because it causes tooth decay. What’s less well-known is how much sugar is hiding in certain foods. A recent study found that some baby formulas contain over one teaspoon of sugar per 100ml. The lesson? Always read the nutritional label.
- Visit the dentist regularly. The first time your child visits the dentist should be when their first tooth erupts. Just like adults, children should see their dentist every 6 months for a check-up. This has the added benefit of making your child comfortable with dental care.
By taking care of your children’s teeth in their early years, you are setting them up for a lifetime of good oral habits.