Teaching our children about the importance of good dental health is key to helping them understand how to take care of themsleves as they grow up.
Why are healthy teeth and gums so important?
1. We need healthy teeth to chew our food. If your teeth and gums are healthy you can chew well and get all the nutrients out of the food we eat that supports the body to help it grow.
2. Teeth actually help us to communicate. If teeth are missing or are not in the right place this cause speech issues including developing a lisp.
3. A healthy smile impacts on our overall confidnce and how others see us .
The biggest enemy of teeth is plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance which is made of bacteria and food. It sticks to the teeth and can cause tooth decay or gum disease. Fighting plaque is simple when you know how and if you can learn early in life it will support better oral and overall health. So here is some top advice from our lead dentist Dr Kimia;
1. Brush your teeth twice a day, once in the morning after breakfast and once before going to bed. Brushing is the best way of removing the plaque. Brush them well for 2 minutes, use a fluoride tooth paste. After brushing spit the foam out but do not rinse your mouth so the tooth paste can stay around the teeth and keep them clean for longer.
2. Cut down on sugary food. We all have bacteria in our mouths but when mixed with sugary food it can become acid and in turn create teeth decay. So avoid sugary snacks like sweets and chocolate and instead choose healthy options like carrot sticks, cucumber, fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink plenty of water and avoid fizzy drinks and squashes. Milk is another healthy drink as it has calcium and is good for growing bones and teeth.
3.Find a good dentist and visit regularly so they can check your teeth and tell you if you are doing a good job cleaning them or not. They also can detect any problems with the teeth and gum and treat them early.
4. Wear a sports guard: if you play contact sports like judo, rugby or taekwondo, you have to wear a sports guard to protect the teeth from harm during your activity.
5. If you notice your gums bleed or if your teeth feel sensitive or painful, go and see your dentist quickly, do not wait as it will only become worse.
Here is a little poem we like to share with children
Here’s my toothpaste, Here’s my brush
I won’t hurry, I won’t rush
Working hard to keep teeth clean
Front and back and in between
When I brush for quite a while
I will have a happy smile
A note for parents:
1. Children should start visiting the dentist as soon as the first tooth appears, usually when the baby is 6 months old.
2. Clean the first baby teeth with a piece of clean flannel or gauze and as soon they can handle a baby brush, start using the brush.
3. Never feed children with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or other sweetened liquids whilst asleep. Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars. The sugars in these liquids pool around the infant’s teeth and gums, feeding the bacteria in the plaque, which in turn will ferment the sugar to acid and cause decay in long term. Children should be weaned from the bottle as soon as they can drink from a cup, but the bottle should not be taken away too soon, since the sucking motion helps with the development of facial muscles, as well as the tongue.
4. Supervise your children when brushing their teeth, treat tooth brushing as a routine and lead by example. Using an app may make the brushing more fun and efficient. These are some apps for those you who are tech savvy:
Brush your Teeth app by Concappt Media
Luca Lashes learns to brush his teeth
Disney Magic Timer™ App
5. Be a good role model for helping prevent a fear of going to the dentist, prepare them for their dental visit, tell them how great healthy teeth look and feel. Take the children with you for your routine dental check-ups to acclimatise them to dental visits.
6. Give them healthy choices with food, snacks and drinks. They don’t do the food shopping, you do.