Children's Dental Hygiene Guide - Parents Should Know


By Alex James

Children’s Dental Hygiene Guide – Parents Should Know

Good parenting involves educating your children about important life skills from their early years. One of these skills which many parents ignore is teaching their children good dental hygiene. To help your kid develop good dental hygiene habits even as they grow older, you need to show the child how to care for their dental health from a young age.

If parenting is new to you, you’ll likely be learning how to carry out the responsibilities of a parent. It is normal to have several concerns and questions about your child’s dental health. The recommended dental hygiene routine advice constantly evolves, so you need to discuss your child’s dental health with the family dentist.

Below are basic things that parents should know about their child’s dental hygiene.

Poor dental health in kids increases the risk of heart disease

Many persons think that heart disease only affects adults, but heart disease can develop at a young age. It also affects more people with poor oral and dental health habits. When you do not teach your child good dental hygiene,which involves caring for the teeth, the child may accumulate plaques on the teeth.

Accumulation of plaques in the mouth, which occurs from residues of sugar and unhealthy beverages, and lingering food particles directly link to excess bacteria in the mouth. The plaque will continue to accumulate over time, leading to gum diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis.

Gingivitis and other gum disease tend to cause different symptoms such as redness of the gums, bleeding and inflammation. Untreated gum disease can wear down the enamel, leading to tooth decay.

Healthcare experts have also established a link between gingivitis and cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, stroke and diabetes.

Do not allow your child to eat excess junk food

Junk foods have several adverse effects on health, and most parents know about them but still allow their children to have sugary treats now and then, which shouldn’t be an issue. However, limiting how often your children take junk foods is important. Excess sugar can damage the teeth, especially taking these sugary threats without practising good oral hygiene.

Foods containing a high amount of sugar can erode the enamel and lead to excessive plaque accumulation on the teeth over time which causes cavities and advanced tooth decay. This makes reducing the sugary treats your children take necessary. Encouraging your children to eat healthy foods will benefit their dental health and their general health.

Sucking the thumb can cause tooth misalignment

Children usually suck on their thumb and pacifiers, and most children carry out this habit to comfort or soothe themselves when feeling anxious or cranky.Although this is normal for children and good for their mental health, the habit can affect their dental health.

Always sucking on the thumb or using pacifiers can damage the adult teeth, which are coming in and cause jaw misalignment. Some children outgrow the habit at about three years, but if your child keeps sucking the thumb past this age, you may have to find alternative soothing options.

Dental hygiene habits picked up in childhood last for life

The habits you help your children develop at a young age will likely stick with them into adulthood and even a lifetime. This is also true for dental hygiene habits. When you educate your children about the basics of good oral hygiene and its importance, they will carry these skills as they become older.

Ensure you show your child the right way to brush the teeth, which involves moving the brush in gentle strokes on the teeth away from the gum line and not in circles. Teaching the child how to floss properly by gently moving the floss in an up and downward movement between the teeth is also important. Encourage the child to use a non-abrasive and alcohol-free mouthwash, then show them how to gargle the mouthwash and rinse it out properly.

A good way to instil the right dental hygiene habits in your child is to make dental hygiene a fun activity that you and the child can carry out together.

Excess fluoride can damage the teeth

Fluoride is present in most toothpaste and drinking water. Although fluoride helps strengthen the teeth and clean them, excess of it harms children’s dental health. Ingesting fluoride or using it as a topical substance is possible.

Children between 3 – 6 years need only a small amount of fluoride, usually the size of a pea, daily. Extreme exposure to fluoride can make the enamel of developing teeth weak and lead to a condition called fluorosis. Fluorosis results in white spots or discolouration on the teeth.

Know when to let the child take the lead

This may be tricky, but dental experts suggest letting children handle their dental hygiene when they are coordinated enough to tie their shoelaces. Most children can do this at about 6 – 7 years. However, you still need to monitor the child when flossing and brushing to ensure the child is doing it correctly to avoid damaging gums and teeth.

If you’re concerned about your child’s dental health, book a hygienist appointment near you. If you live in London, you can also visit this website or call 020 3137 5055 to schedule an appointment with our dentist specialising in children’s dentistry.

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