Your little one is growing up so fast and with ‘big school’ fast approaching, big responsibilities should be taken on.
Between the ages of 3 and 5, pre-schoolers are taught the responsibility of looking after their teeth so that their big teeth can be the strongest and healthiest ones they need. The Lake View Dental team has devised a checklist to assist stressed out folks to manage their pre-schoolers oral hygiene routine:
Use low fluoride toothpaste
Be sure to use only a small pea-size amount of toothpaste on your child’s toothbrush. Look for toothpaste with low fluoride and encourage your child to spit it out and not to swallow it or rinse with water. By not rinsing, this keeps the small amount of fluoride in their mouth which ultimately protects their teeth. Spitting out can also be difficult for small children so you may need to show them how to do it.
Brush teeth twice a day
By brushing their teeth properly, your child avoids tooth decay caused by plaque build-up on the surface of their teeth. Be sure to show them how to brush every surface of their teeth and gums at least twice a day – once after breakfast and once before bed. Get them a soft-bristled children’s toothbrush and encourage them to brush in a sweeping motion away from the gum. We suggest keeping an eye on your children while they’re brushing and possibly assisting them until they are at least 7 or 8 years old. During this time, let them attempt to brush their own teeth and encourage them to do it as part of their daily routine.
Say no to fruit juice
Fruit juice and sweet drinks are full of sugar, be it refined or natural, and can increase the risk of tooth decay. Even fruit juices labelled as ‘no added sugar’ contain natural sugar that can still have long-term tooth decay effects. Fresh fruit is a better alternative because it provides the same nutrients, plus fibre and is more filling than juice. Sweet drinks including soft drinks, all contain ascorbic acid which eat away at tooth enamel and cause severe tooth damage. However, ascorbic acid is vitamin c but if CO2 resolves in water carbonic acid is formed.
Limit sugary foods
As with sugary drinks, limit foods high in added sugars as they too cause decay. Another tip to remember is that food, especially sugary and ‘junk foods’ shouldn’t be used as an incentive or reward for good behaviour, but rather a once in a while treat.
Healthy meals and snacks are a necessity
Enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods every day including fruits, vegetables, grains and cereals, dairy, lean meat, fish and eggs. We recommend adding these as snacks to your child’s lunchboxes. Milk, yoghurt and cheese (and some dairy alternatives) are excellent sources of calcium, which is good for teeth and bones – just be sure to include the sugar-free varieties wherever possible. Lead by example and teach your tiny ones that eating healthy can be fun, delicious and have long-term benefits in helping them grow big and strong.
Try to stop thumb-sucking and dummy use
Most children stop sucking their fingers or thumbs between two and four years of age. To help your child to break the habit, try encouragement and distractions like offering a reward for a period without sucking. You could mark progress on a chart or calendar to watch their progress as it changes.
Make sure they have an oral health assessment by 2 years of age
By the time children are at preschool, they should have had an oral health assessment. If not, make an appointment with your local dental clinic. At Lake View Dental we provide comprehensive dental care uniquely combining a holistic philosophy. If you find it difficult to get your child to a dentist, our tooth fairy appointments can help to take the anxiety out of seeing the dentist by making it a fun experience. We can also explain the importance of taking care of their teeth, as well as help them stop sucking their thumb.