Looking after your child’s oral health starts before their first milk teeth come through. Maintaining your children’s dental health is a long but rewarding journey, so let’s go through some handy tips that will help you along the way.
Healthy diet, healthy mouth
Sugar causes tooth decay – it’s a fact. So try to keep it out of your child’s diet as much as you can. Remember to check the ingredients list on prepared food and avoid sugary and fizzy drinks. If you do give them fruit juice, dilute it with water and try to restrict it to mealtimes.
Set a good example
Your baby learns a lot from watching you – so show them how it’s done. Let them see you brushing your teeth, and you’ll be paving the way for them to develop their own brushing routine when they’re older.
Introduce brushing early on
As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, it’s time to start brushing twice a day. Follow these steps:
- Sit your baby on your lap with their head resting against your chest.
- Using a baby toothbrush, start with a tiny smear of age-appropriate toothpaste, such as Signal.
- Very gently start brushing your baby’s teeth in small circles, making sure you cover all the surfaces.
- Let your baby spit the toothpaste out afterwards. No need to rinse with water – this actually reduces the benefit of the fluoride.
Some babies don’t like having their teeth brushed, which can make it a challenge. But don’t worry, it’s completely natural. Try turning it into a game, or letting them watch in the mirror – the important thing is to persevere so that they’ll eventually get used to it.
Visit the dentist
Start taking your child for regular dental check-ups from the moment their first teeth come through. Your dentist can talk you through how often you need to come, and answer any questions you have about your child’s dental health.
When your baby becomes a toddler
As your baby grows up, you can start letting them brush their own teeth. By the time they’re two, they may be able to do it entirely on their own. Just remember to supervise them – it’s easy for children to miss a few spots. You’ll also need to make sure they have their own toothbrush and toothpaste.
It may be a few years before you feel confident your child can brush their teeth thoroughly without your supervision. That’s normal. But when you do reach that point – and you will – give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it.