Great dental care is essential for children and teenagers and can help them get into a good oral hygiene routine that will keep their teeth healthy and strong well into adulthood and hopefully for life. It can be difficult to explain to children just why it is so important to brush and floss each day, but it is worth persevering, particularly as good oral hygiene has been closely linked to good general health.
Oral Hygiene for Kids
You should start to brush a child’s teeth as soon as that first baby tooth emerges. At this stage, contact us to book their first ever dental appointment. Children need to have their teeth brushed for them until aged seven or older, and most will not have enough dexterity to floss their own teeth until the age of ten. We know it isn’t easy to brush and floss small children’s teeth, but we can help you with this. Ask us for practical demonstrations on how to clean their teeth with the minimum of fuss. As your child gets older, it is still important to keep a close eye on their attention to oral health as it can be one of those things it is all too easy for them to forget about. Making sure they have the best oral hygiene can take a lot of effort but it is well worth it and we can talk to your child and explain just why good oral health is important.
Effects of Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities in children. Even very young kids may develop tooth decay, particularly as the tooth enamel (Enamel Hypoplasia) protecting their milk teeth is thinner and less resistant to acids than enamel on adult teeth. In addition, children can develop and gum disease, a serious condition that causes the gums to become infected and to bleed, and which puts their general health at risk because bacteria in the mouth can then enter the bloodstream.
Children with poor oral hygiene may havelower self-esteem and self-confidence. They can become self-conscious about having decayed teeth and oral disease can cause bad breath in kids. Having decaying and badly infected teeth can also be pretty painful, making it more difficult for a child to concentrate at school and to achieve their full potential.
The best oral hygiene practice is one where a child will brush twice daily, once first thing in the morning and again last thing at night, and will floss once-a-day. The best time to floss is last thing at night so the teeth are as clean as possible overnight when the mouth is drier and it is easier for bacterial levels to build up. This simple routine takes just a few minutes each day and our pediatric dentist can help your child perfect their brushing and flossing routine so every second counts.
Brushing with Braces
It’s particularly important for your child to brush if they are undergoing orthodontic treatment as poor oral hygiene and braces can unfortunately go hand-in-hand. Fixed braces are often tricky to clean but there are a number of different tooth cleaning tools on the market which make it much easier to brush and floss around all the brackets and wires.