5 Tips for healthy kids teeth

Check out these tips on how to keep your kids' teeth healthy. From dental care to brushes, brushing and the effects of food, drink and medication.
Check out these tips on how to keep your kids' teeth healthy.

From dental care to brushes, brushing and the effects of food, drink and medication.

1. Dental care

  • Dental care in New Zealand is free for children under 18 years old.
  • Ideally your child's first visit to the dentist should happen around their first birthday, or as a general rule, 6 months after their first tooth appears or sooner if their teeth are discoloured.
  • Ensure you take your child for regular check-ups every 6 months to 1 year to help keep their baby teeth in tip-top condition.

2. Brushes & brushing

  • Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appear with a small soft toothbrush.
  • Use the right-sized brush for your child’s age. Adult brushes are too big and unwieldy for children’s mouths.
  • Replace your child’s toothbrush as soon as the bristles start to splay and show signs of wear and tear.
  • Kids may need to be supervised when they’re cleaning their teeth until they’re 7 or 8 years old. Lack of manual dexterity makes it hard for them to reach to the back of their mouth and clean thoroughly.
  • Use toothpaste appropriate for your child’s age. Apply a small amount to their toothbrush as directed on the tube.

3. Drinks

  • Milk has lactose (milk sugar) in it so letting your child go to sleep with a bottle in their mouth isn’t good for their teeth.
  • Soft drinks and fruit drinks cause acid attacks on your child’s teeth, especially when they are bottle-fed. Encourage your child to drink lots of water instead.
  • Soda water lowers the pH in your child’s mouth creating an acidic environment that leads to de-mineralising of their teeth.

4. Food

  • Diet is equally as important as cleaning your child’s teeth in preventing tooth decay.
  • Limit sweet snacks and soft drinks to treats. Choose protein rich snacks or fruit and vegetables instead in between meals.
  • However, too much fruit (fresh, juiced, dried or canned) can contribute to problems such as cavities and erosion, especially if your child is grazing on fruit all day. Check out our article on the affects of fruit on kids teeth.
  • Don’t dip dummies into sweet foods like honey or jam to help prevent tooth decay.
  • The casein in cheese has a neutralising effect on your child’s mouth and can help rebalance the pH levels in their mouth, in turn reducing the risk of tooth decay.

5. Medication

  • The use of inhalers for asthma symptoms can cause oral problems as the steroids dry out your child’s mouth. It’s therefore best to rinse out your child’s month with water immediately after using an inhaler.
  • Regular use of medications containing sugar also pose a risk to tooth decay.
Check out our other Hot Topics on kids teeth too: Image source:

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