Creating an effective dental health care routine for school aged children is incredibly important. It’s obviously important for early-aged children because problems with baby teeth can cause problems for the development of adult teeth. However, because children will grow their adult teeth during their school years, close attention needs to be paid to their overall dental health.
To help ensure that your child develops healthy habits when it comes to dental care, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help along the way.
A Healthy Diet Promotes Healthy Dental Care
The focus on diet has been blown up to mammoth proportions in our health-conscious society. Despite the focus, many people are still failing to act on the information that is now readily available these days. Diet is absolutely essential to dental health and no amount of brushing, flushing or rinsing will be able to combat the effects of a poor diet.
Regulate Sugar Intake
When it comes to sweet, sugar dense foods, it’s not the amount that a child consumes, but the frequency of their consumption. It’s far better for a child’s dental health to let them scoff a bag of lollies on a Saturday at the movies than to allow them to eat five to six lollies throughout the day, every day.
Frequent consumption means their teeth don’t get a break from the sugar, allowing the bacteria to grow and form plaque. It’s better to let your children have sweets at meal times rather than as a snack, so a small desert after dinner is a better option than providing a chocolate bar for morning tea and a muffin when they get home from school.
It’s also important to check the medicines you give your children, as some of these can contain hidden sugars to make them more palatable to kids.
Eat Fruits, Vegetables, Protein and Calcium
Encourage your children to eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, lean meats or other protein sources. Calcium is the number one friend of teeth; hard cheeses and milk help prevent tooth decay by protecting the enamel of the teeth.
90% of Victorians are lucky enough to have access to tap water that contains fluoride. Drinking plenty of fluoridised water is enormously beneficial to the health of teeth, so, if you use a water filter make sure it doesn’t filter out fluoride. Bottled water doesn’t contain nearly as much fluoride, so help your teeth, the environment and your hip pocket, and go with trusty tap water.
Create a Dental Care Regime At Home
You need to work on getting your children to a point where brushing their teeth is a natural part of their daily routine. Refer to our blog on children and teeth brushing for tips on achieving this. Children should begin flossing between the ages of 6 and 10; as soon as their teeth begin to grow closer together, it’s time to start flossing.
Visit The Dentist
Just because your child isn’t complaining about a toothache, it doesn’t mean that they have a clean bill of dental health. Pain often doesn’t present until dental health problems are advanced and more difficult to treat. The majority of private health care insurers offer two free visits to the dentist per year. Get the most out of the money you pay for your cover and get your children’s teeth checked every six months. If problems are picked up early they are easier to treat and won’t cost as much. This is particularly important for jaw problems where early treatment could save the need for surgery later in life.
Let Your Children Take Ownership
Dental care has to be more than just something you tell your children to do. You need to allow them to take ownership of their dental health; it’s about creating healthy habits that will stay with them throughout life. Make sure they are educated about the effects of sugar on their health and that they understand the importance of a good dental care routine.
Giving your children ownership is more likely to result in a better approach to their dental health. Have them schedule their dental appointments and write down the dates in their diary and when they are old enough, let them go into the dentist’s office themselves. Allowing them to go in themselves normalises the process, which could assist in preventing phobias later on in life.
Get in touch with dHealth Dentistry to get some help on creating healthy dental care habits for your school aged children. We can organise a consultation with you and your child or point you in the direction of some useful literature.