Contribution From Freelance Writer: Jenny Holt
“I’m going to have to fill that cavity”. Words that no one wants to hear when they visit their dentist, but it’s even worse when they are talking about your child’s teeth. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, 42% of children have at least one cavity in their baby teeth, and 21% have cavities in their adult teeth. Cavities can be expensive to treat and can also result in a traumatic trip to the dentist to be filled. Or even worse, to have the tooth removed. Prevention is a much less costly option. And while you can make sure they eat a healthy diet without too much cavity causing sugar, it can be difficult to get small children to brush their teeth and even harder to get them to do it well. So here are some top tips to help you out.
It’s much easier to get kids into a good teeth-brushing regime when they are young. When the first baby tooth starts to appear, make it a part of the morning and evening routine to brush their teeth. Use a very soft brush, or even a clean, wet washcloth or piece of muslin. You can also get small silicon ‘brushes’ that sit on your finger (a bit like a big thimble), which may make it easier to begin with. Remember that with first teeth coming through their mouths and gums may be particularly sensitive, so it’s important to be extra gentle, and only use water to begin with.
Make a game of it, pulling faces to get them to mimic your wide open mouth, and ‘tickle’ the teeth at the back to get them to laugh. They’ll soon get used to it being a regular part of their routine, and as they get more teeth you can extend the time you spend on it and start to include a toothpaste specially formulated for babies. To start with they’ll probably swallow more of it that they’ll spit out!
Even if you start off well when your child is a baby, toddlers can present an extra teeth-cleaning challenge. They often want to do everything themselves, which is great for independence. But teeth cleaning really needs to be supervised until they’re about 10 years old, in order to ensure they do a good job. One way to get around this is to let them have a go first, then you finish off to ensure they’ve got all the hard to reach places. Once they’re a bit older it can be fun to use a disclosing tablet. This is a small, chewy tablet that turns your teeth a bright colour where you haven’t cleaned properly. It can be quite an eye-opener for you to use one too and compare who has done a better job. There’s plenty of ways to make tooth-brushing fun, like a timer game or a dance party, and older children often respond well to rewards.
A Healthy Mouth For Life
More About Jenny
“Jenny Holt is a freelance writer and mother of two. She loves nothing more than getting away from it and taking her pet Labrador Bruce for long walks, something she can do a lot more now she’s left the corporate world behind.”