Would you like to help your child to maintain a healthy mouth for life? Helping them to get into a good oral health routine and, in particular, teaching them how to keep plaque at bay, gives them a great start.
The bacteria found in plaque is the major cause of gum disease, which is estimated to affect more than half of adults in the UK. It has been linked to a number of major health problems, including heart attacks and heart disease.
Here are 4 steps to help your child to prevent plaque and to enjoy a healthy mouth:
- Brush at least twice a day
Your child should brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes at least twice a day to stop the build-up of plaque.
It’s best to brush in the morning and just before bedtime.
You can buy smaller toothbrushes made for children, which should have soft to medium nylon bristles. Changing toothbrushes regularly helps your child to maintain healthy teeth. With younger children, supervise brushing by doing it yourself or by watching to make sure they’re brushing well.
Children aged between three and six years old should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Your child should be able to brush their own teeth from the age of seven or eight but you should still check to make sure they’re brushing properly for a full two minutes.
The fluoride in toothpaste helps to protect and strengthen teeth, which can prevent and control tooth decay.
Children under the age of six can use a children’s toothpaste with a lower concentration of fluoride. Some children’s toothpastes do not have enough fluoride to help prevent tooth decay so please make sure it contains at least 1,000ppm. Children aged six and over can use a normal family toothpaste provided it falls within the 1,350-1,500 ppm range. Download our free Teeth Straightening Guide For Kids to learn more.
- Cut down on sugary food and drinks
Sugary food and drinks are a major cause of tooth decay.
When you eat or drink things like sweets or fizzy drinks, the sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque to make acids, which attack the enamel on teeth.
Because plaque is sticky, the acids stay in contact with your teeth. If the enamel is constantly attacked by acid it can break down and a cavity - a small hole - can form.
Although fruit contains acids, it will only be damaging to your teeth if you eat an excessive amount.
According to the Oral Health Foundation, “a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals and fresh fruit and vegetables can help to prevent gum disease”.
Sticky, dried fruits, meanwhile, stay on the teeth for longer and can damage your teeth. It’s important to rinse with water after eating and, if possible, to brush your teeth.
- Take your child for regular visits to the dentist
The dentist will examine your child’s teeth and gums to make sure everything is healthy and to spot any dental problems at an early stage. They can also remove any build-up of plaque and tartar (hardened plaque).
It’s important to get your child into the habit of visiting the dentist to help them on their way to enjoying good dental health for the rest of their life.
- Take your child to see an orthodontist if they show early signs of orthodontic problems
Early signs of orthodontic problems can include crowded or misplaced teeth, protruding teeth, signs of wear in the teeth enamel and sucking thumbs or fingers.
Problems like overcrowding or crooked teeth make it more difficult to keep the teeth and gums clean. This can lead to teeth decay and eventually gum disease or tooth loss. Such problems can also make chewing more difficult, which can wear away tooth enamel.
If you take your child to see an experienced orthodontist you can feel secure you’re doing everything you can to help them have a good-looking, healthy smile for life.
Want to find out more?
Download our free Teeth Straightening Guide For Kids or click below to book a FREE consultation.