As a child I remember going to the dentist. I absolutely loved it. Visiting the dentist for me was a fun and exciting outing for the family. We would get dressed, brush our teeth and then make the 30 minute walk into Barnsley town centre with my mum. The waiting room had a distinctive smell to it and we excitedly waited to have our checkups. After the Dentist checked our teeth me and my sister would be given stickers for being brave, a new toothbrush and toothpaste and we were on our way.
As time went on however visiting the dentist was not as much fun. The older I got the more my visits were for fillings and dental treatment. Dental treatments are important for preventing further tooth decay and damage to the teeth. Dental treatment can really help with confidence and self esteem.
As a patient with Adrenal Insufficiency going to the Dentist can potentially be life threatening for me. I do not make the stress hormone cortisol and therefore before treatment I need to take extra medication to help my body cope with any added stress on the body which would naturally come from dental treatment such as a filling. In fact several times I have avoided treatment due to my health condition and I am overdue to visit my local dentist to check my teeth.
Although I am learning to manage my health condition, I do think if I had better knowledge of “how to look after my teeth” as a child I would not be needing as much treatment now as an adult and I would not feel so bad about the way my teeth look now.
So as a parent I have made an extra valiant effort to teach my daughter how to look after her teeth. Today I am sharing my top tips for teaching your children to look after their teeth.
Top Tips To Teaching Kids To Brush Teeth
Start Young – Infants
As soon as your infant grows teeth you can help them to get them used to a toothbrush. Find an age appropriate soft-bristled toothbrush and simply add water to it to help your infant become familiar with putting a toothbrush in the mouth.
Ages 2-5 – Toddlers
For children aged 2 to 5 apply a small pea sized amount of toothpaste to your child’s toothbrush. Model to your child how to brush their teeth and let them watch and copy you. Brushing teeth together is a great way to set an example and show little ones that dental hygiene is important.
Ages 6 plus
Children aged 6 to 8 should be able to brush their teeth on their own. It is a good idea at this age to inspect and check that your child has brushed his or her teeth well and make sure they are reaching all areas in the mouth. This might also be a great age to introduce a battery powered toothbrush which can help to remove plaque from the teeth and gums.
As soon as your child’s teeth are next to one another it is a great time to introduce flossing. You can purchase floss or flossing sticks suitable for kids from the supermarket and their are often fun flavours such as fruity floss if your child would prefer this to mint flavours. Using floss can help remove food which may have settled in between the teeth, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
Long Term Habits
Helping our children develop good tooth brushing and flossing habits at a young age is the key to them developing long term oral hygiene habits. Even if you’ve not done as well as you would like start today. It’s never too late to get the kids brushing their teeth and the sooner they learn to care for their teeth the better for the long term future.