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Nearly 20 percent of kindergarten-age children in Richmond have visible tooth decay and, across Canada, increasing numbers of very young children are undergoing day surgeries for tooth decay. It’s never too early to start look after your children’s oral health and a good routine can begin even before they go through the milestone stage of teething.

Make Friends With The Dentist

First teeth help guide the adult teeth into place and are crucial for learning to eat and speak so don’t let your kids think there’s no point in brushing them because they’re going to fall out anyway!  You can wipe your kid’s gums even before they have teeth as babies can still get plaque in their mouths and gum disease is common in children. Teach your kids that looking after your teeth is good for overall health and wellbeing and that regular dental check-ups are important. Many people grow up to be afraid of the dentist but if you take your children regularly from when they are babies they will be accustomed to the routine. If your kids do get nervous, you could perhaps let them see the dentist give you a check-up so they know what to expect. And if they do have to get a filling, make sure they understand that the better they brush their teeth, the lesser the chance are they’ll another one.

Make Brushing Fun

Once your child is old enough to hold a pen and write their name, then they can start brushing their own teeth. However, even when they brush for themselves it’s still a good idea to supervise them and check they are doing it thoroughly and for the recommended two minutes. There are lots of catchy two minute brushing songs available to make teeth brushing more fun so you can choose one that your kids love (and that you can bear to listen to at least twice a day!) Allowing your children to choose their own toothbrushes in bright colours or with a character design will help them feel that brushing isn’t just a chore. If your child has sensory issues, the feel of soft baby brush can help make the transition to a regular brush. Sometimes, kids will be put off cleaning their teeth by the taste or feel of the toothpaste, so give them a chance to try different flavours of toothpaste to find one that they like the best.

When to Brush

Brushing at least twice a day is recommended and it is especially important to brush before bed. This is because we produce less saliva during the night and without saliva washing away bacteria, the mouth is more at risk of decay. Encourage your kids to wait at least half an hour after eating (especially sugary snacks) before letting them brush their teeth. Sugar and acid weakens the tooth enamel so brushing too soon after can sweep away tiny particles of enamel.

Starting a good oral health routine when you’re kids are babies makes it much easier to introduce regular teeth brushing without tears and tantrums. Once your kids learn that brushing their teeth is not a routine they can skip, they’ll start to appreciate the benefits and grow up with strong, healthy teeth.

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