Recent studies have indicated that many students miss an average of 2.5 days of school a year due to dental issues. Most cases involve tooth decay or physical trauma, meaning they are preventable with good oral hygiene practices and having the right precautions in place.
Parents play an important role in preventing dental issues by encouraging healthy dieting and oral hygiene habits, among other things. Below are some simple tips for good oral health for children to prevent future pain and missed days at school.
Fluoride Toothpaste and Proper Brushing Habits
Use a pea-sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste from the age of 18 months to six years. After kids turn six, they can use a pea sized amount of standard fluoride toothpaste. Encourage them to spit out toothpaste but not rinse.
Ensure your children are brushing properly; thoroughly cleaning every tooth as well as the gums and tongue is important. Encourage them to brush in small circles along the gum line. Choose a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles and supervise brushing until they are 7 or 8 years old.
Drink Plenty of Water
Water should be the main drink children have and they should have plenty of it during the day. They should be drinking tap water containing fluoride, which plays a vital role in protecting teeth from decay. Most tap water in South Australia has fluoride in it but the same isn’t true of most bottled water.
Try to avoid fruit juices and other sweet drinks, all of which cause tooth decay. Fruit juice with “no added sugar” still contains a significant amount of natural sugar, while diet soft drinks contain damaging acids. It is best to minimise all sweet drinks including soft drinks, fruit juice, cordials, sports drinks, tea drinks and energy drinks.
Healthy Meals and Snacks
Kids should enjoy a diet with a variety of healthy foods from the five groups every day. Fruit and vegetables are very important for overall health, while dairy products are an excellent source of calcium that helps to strengthen teeth.
Unfortunately, many common foods and snacks have sugar in them. Try to avoid them where possible, especially in your child’s lunchbox. Common lunchbox foods high in sugar include jam, biscuits, muffins, slices, sweet pastries, muesli bars, lollies, cakes, and doughnuts.
Protecting against Injuries
Dental issues often arise from physical injuries that occur during sports or play. Wearing a custom-fitted mouth guard during contact sports or other high-risk activities is the best way to avoid serious injuries.
If your child knocks out a baby tooth, don’t try to put it back in place as you risk damaging the adult tooth under the gum. If an adult tooth is knocked out, rinse it with saline or milk without touching the root and contact your local dentist immediately.
Regular Visits to the Dentist
Children should be getting routine checkups at the dentist every 6 months to assess their overall oral health and to address any problems as early as possible. Your child should be visiting the dentist from the age of 18 months. Regular dental checkups from an early age will help them develop good habits and become comfortable with visiting the dentist.
If you need a dedicated and friendly dentist for your children in Adelaide, book an appointment with City Central Dental. We’ll provide a comfortable atmosphere for your child’s dental visits while offering gap-free checkups for school aged children. Get in touch today by calling 08 8231 9922 or contact us online.