Our mouths are instrumental to how we speak, breathe and eat. How we take care of our gum and dental health is one of the most crucial parts of our day-to-day lives. There are many reasons to start supporting your child’s oral hygiene journey from bacteria build-up to gum disease and decay.
But why does it matter?
With a greater spotlight on our children’s health and wellbeing, simple steps at home can give your little one their best chance of a healthy lifestyle later on. In this article, we are going to discover what makes your child’s gum and dental health so vital:
Milk teeth - why they matter
If we’re going to start anywhere, it has to be at the beginning! Milk teeth not only are your child’s adult teeth ‘predecessors’, but they help shape their face, allow them to chew, and hold the space ‘open’ for their permanent teeth to develop into. Think of them as the foundation to your child’s future oral hygiene.
All babies are born with their teeth already in place waiting to come through from their gum bed! Teeth really aren’t the biggest cause for concern! As it turns out, it’s bacteria that you need to look out for. Although there are many strains of helpful bacteria living in our mouths, there are also some oral bacteria that can be much more damaging in the long term.
Managing bacteria is what it’s all about. Daily brushing and then flossing as soon as two teeth are touching, is essential to maintaining good oral health.
Getting some simple routines in place early on, can help to create a healthy environment in your child’s mouth. Keeping decay-building bacteria at bay by using a dental wipe or a damp clean cloth to wipe away any leftover milk sugars, and then moving on to a small, soft bristled round headed brush, is all you need.
As your baby enters their toddler days with much more rigour, sass and the odd tantrum, there are a lot of things to manage as a parent. Keeping up their daily oral hygiene routine hasn’t lost its importance during this stage. If anything, it is more important than ever!
If your little one is anything like mine, as soon as they discover chocolate, cake and ice-cream, all the other foods you offer them mean nothing! From a carrot munching extraordinaire to a sweet-tooth queen, toddler life has many obstacles to contend with!
During your child’s toddler years, they are discovering new sounds, words and how to take on more challenging textures and foods. Keeping their gums free of pesky bad bacteria and staying on top of their dental health routine is key.
By this stage, (ideally before one year of age) your little one should have visited the dentist too. There you will get handy tips on how to brush teeth and ideas to encourage your tot to develop good dental habits.
But there are also some extra things you can do at home:
- Encourage choice: Offer your toddler a small selection of dental-stage-appropriate toothbrushes to choose from. This could be a Flossbrush, a character toothbrush or an electric toothbrush
- Make toothbrushing fun: Whether you make up a brushing song, do a dance or tell a story, getting your toddler engaged is all part of the fun!
- Lead by example: Do you know who your little one’s absolute hero is? It’s you! So, lead by example and show them how it’s done!
- Be creative: Little imaginations love adventure and discovery. More than anyone, you know what makes your child tick, so use that to your advantage and be creative!
Throughout every childhood stage, we all face hurdles. Once your toddler has transitioned into a fully fledged child, everything starts to feel much more real. From taking care of the newest pearly white, to a full set of milk teeth - that’s a lot to take in! Then, the milk teeth start falling out and BAM!, we’re welcoming the Tooth Fairy!
What’s more, toothbrushes at this stage are the most exciting! Bright unicorns, popping pandas and racing rockets are now a feature. You’ve got electric, ‘all singing and dancing’ toothbrushes and by now, you and your child should have (hopefully) cracked toothbrushing!
By now your child should be able to independently brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. Flossing is also encouraged to get rid of those hard to remove bits of debris that get lodged between our teeth. It’s easy to become complacent, but keeping up good oral hygiene is crucial to long-term health and wellbeing. You will have less eventful trips to the dentist as your child grows and develops..
From newborn to childhood, gum and dental health matters.
Our mouths affect everything from our speech development to how we consume food. Take care of your little one’s oral hygiene from the start to give them the best shot at maintaining healthy teeth and gums in the future!