Children will normally get their first teeth, known as milk teeth, at around 6 months old. These teeth will start to fall out about the age of 6 years old when the adult teeth push through. Once the first milk tooth comes through it is important to start caring for their teeth so that they grow up with a healthy mouth. By watching your child’s diet, instilling a good oral health routine, and visiting the dentist regularly, you will help to keep their teeth strong and reduce the chances of cavities and other problems forming.
Here are White Dental Rooms’ top 5 tips for caring for tiny teeth:
- Pick The Right Toothbrush
There are so many types of brushes available for children including ones that are brightly coloured, light up, have cartoon characters on them, and even timers. The ideal brush will have a small head to fit into their mouth and have bristles that are not too soft or too hard. Introducing brushing from when the first tooth appears is important to create a good dental routine, and an older child could pick the toothbrush they want so that they are more likely to use it. Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day, and this is a very important routine that children should adopt early.
- Timing Is Everything
Teeth should be brushed twice a day, but the benefit will only come if they are brushed properly and for at least two minutes. Every surface of each tooth must be cleaned well so that cavities do not form, even with milk teeth as this could still lead to dental problems later on. A toothbrush should be replaced every 3 months, or sooner if the bristles become splayed as they will not clean as effectively.
- Toothpaste Type
As with brushes, there are lots of different kinds of toothpaste available and some are better than others. To help prevent tooth decay, you should pick a toothpaste that contains the right amount of fluoride. Fluoride helps protect the other hard layer of the teeth called enamel and helps to remove the bacteria that may contribute to cavities. For children between the ages of 0-6 years old, a toothpaste with 1350–1500ppm (parts per million) of fluoride is best. A small smear of toothpaste along the brush is enough for children under the age of 3, and between 3-6 years old they should use no more than a pea-sized amount.
- How To Brush
Cleaning their teeth should be part of a child’s daily hygiene routine but they should be taught how to brush properly, and be supervised up to the age of at least 7. The teeth should be brushed from the gums up to the top of the tooth, with care taken not to brush too hard or scrub the brush from side to side. You may find it easier to stand or sit behind the child with their chin in your hand so that they (with your help) can reach the top and bottom teeth more easily. It is important to praise and congratulate the child as this will encourage them to brush regularly.
- Take Care With Their Diet
Tooth decay is not solely down to the amount of sugar or acid in the diet, but how often it is consumed. Children tend to love sugar and want sweets or sugary drinks as a snack or treat. However, the more often your child has sugar, the more likely they are going to suffer from tooth decay. Sweet things should be restricted to meal times as extra saliva is produced when eating and this will help to neutralise the acid that causes decay. If you want to give your child a snack, try to stick to cheese, vegetables, or fresh fruit. Keep an eye on the ingredients in prepacked food for hidden sugar, as generally, anything ending in ‘ose’ is a type of sugar, for example, fructose, glucose, lactose or sucrose.