Tooth decay progresses quicker in children than in adults, so it is vital to establish a good tooth brushing routine for children as early as possible.
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Tooth decay progresses quicker in children than in adults, so it is vital to establish a good tooth brushing routine for children as early as possible. The reason why decay is so rapid in children is because baby teeth have thinner enamel than adult teeth.
Tooth decay and gum disease is prevented by cleaning well and eating healthily. Brushing teeth is an important part of good oral and overall health, especially for children, whose teeth and bones are still developing.
As soon as the first tooth appears brushing should start. Baby teeth usually appear at around six months of age and all of the baby teeth should be visible by 2 years of age. The first adult molars appear at around 6 years of age and this coincides with the start of the loss of baby teeth.
From the beginning use a toothbrush and toothpaste that is recommended for the particular age group. Use a soft-bristled brush with a small amount of children’s toothpaste. Gently but thoroughly brush on the inside, outside and tops of each of the child’s teeth, as well as the tongue (to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath). From an early age children can try brush their own teeth, but until there are competent an adult should repeat the process. A good tip is to cradle the child’s head and brush their teeth from behind, which allows better access. From 3 years of age onwards, children should use age recommended electric toothbrushes which are clinically proven to clean better.
Children, just as adults, should brush twice a day. It is best to develop a routine. Brushing immediately after a meal is not recommended. Tooth brushing should be the last thing that is done before bedtime and nothing should be consumed after that (apart from water).
- Children and parents should brush teeth together as children will learn quicker.
- Colourful themed toothbrushes make tooth cleaning fun.
- Replace toothbrushes on a regular basis.
- Flossing can be introduced when the child is older.