Developing your child’s understanding of the importance of looking after their teeth is imperative for the future health of their mouth. Establishing a good relationship with the dentist in the early years, enforcing good eating habits and cleaning routines can all contribute to ensuring your child has a happy, healthy, smile filled future.
We all know however, that getting your little ones to brush their teeth can be difficult, so in this post we will provide you with useful dietary information to reduce your child’s sugar intake and useful tips and tricks to engage your little one to make tooth brushing a little more fun for both of you.
Sweets and other yummy treats.
Every child at some point will want to eat sweets (so will most adults too, did someone say lemon sherbet?) so it is therefore unrealistic to deny children the odd sweet treat every now and again so here are a few tips to think of when treating your little sweetie;
- Steer clear of sticky sweets that will stick in the fissures of the teeth
- Do not allow your child to snack repeatedly, it is much better to give them one bag of sweets straight after a meal. T
- he more your child snacks on sugary foods they have more sugar hits through the day (we recommend ideally no more then 4 sugar hits per day – and don’t forget that includes hidden sugars too, think baked beans.)
- Dried fruits such as raisins are very high in sugar, they are also sticky and should be seen as an occasional treat. Like sweets they should not be given as a snack through out the day.
- Fizzy drinks are not advisable and fruit juices should be kept to a minimum. They are also best given at meal times.
- Always wait at least 20 minutes after eating or drinking anything (other than water) to brush your child’s teeth – this is the amount of time it takes the Ph levels in the saliva to return to a normal non-acidic level.
We all know that the best kinds of teats and snacks are raw vegetables and fruits, however they can seem a little boring to children, so here are a few cleaver ideas off the internet to make healthy snacks a bit more appealing…
Engaging your child and making oral heath care fun!
Choosing the right toothpaste flavour is important for kids. Some find certain flavours too strong, and some don’t like the taste of mint. Try out different flavours until you find one that your child likes, check that the fluoride ppm levels are 1,350 or above, only use a smear of toothpaste for a child under 3 years old and a pea sized amount for 3+years, be sure that your child doesn’t eat or swallow the toothpaste and never ask them to rinse with water afterwards as that washes away all that good fluoride!
Choose a fun Toothbrush
Make buying a new toothbrush a treat – make it fun, children love things that are brightly coloured or have their favorite characters on them there are even toothbrushes that flash!
Timing, timing and more timing
Two minuets feels like a very long time and all too often we rush brushing our teeth. Discourage this bad habit early on by making this twice daily 2-minute “chore” as fun as possible. Why not dance around to a song or use an app such a brush DJ or the Aquafresh Brush Time!
Stickers for Sparkling Smiles
Children love receiving a sticker at the dentist so try incorporating this reward system at home by using a calendar and stickers to offer positive reinforcement for excellent brushing.
It starts with you
Children look up to their parents, they want to be like you and by watching you spending time on your dental routine, allowing them to see you brushing your teeth from a young age and even spending time brushing together will install a positive attitude from very early on.