Dental Care for Children: Establishing Healthy Habits Early

For optimal oral health you should brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, ensuring that your children follow in your example is important to help ensure the health of their teeth. Children under six years old should not be using adult toothpaste, as adult toothpaste has higher levels of floride than toothpaste for children. If a child under six years old regularly uses adult toothpaste their teeth can become stained because of the high floride content. You should also ensure that you change your childs toothbrush every 3-4 months as this helps maximise the effectiveness of the brush, making it easier for your child to brush their teeth properly. 

Schedule Regular Visits To The Dentist

Taking your child to your local dentist in Wakefeild every 6 months can help you stay on top of your child’s dental health, as the dentist can assess the condition of your child’s teeth and make recommendations if necessary. Dentists may explain that your child needs to be brushing their teeth more thoroughly to reduce plaque buildup, you can also ask the dentist any questions you have about your child’s teeth; this can help you understand your role in helping to ensure that your child’s teeth remain healthy. If your child is scared of going to the dentist you could try the following:

  • Encourage them to bring a soft toy with them for emotional support.
  • Finding stories or games about visiting the dentist, it is important to ensure that these portray going to the dentist in a positive light.
  • Answering your child’s teeth about visiting the dentist, whilst trying not to talk about the dentist negatively. Instead, you should explain the benefits the dentist has for the health of your child’s teeth.

Brush Your Teeth At The Same Time As Your Child

Brushing your teeth when your child is brushing their teeth can help you monitor your child’s attempts to brush their teeth, if they are not brushing their teeth to the standard you expect you are with them to explain how to brush their teeth more effectively. When you are brushing your teeth yourself you can give a visual example of yourself brushing your teeth to show them better ways to brush their teeth. If needed you can then brush your child’s teeth properly yourself if you are concerned about the standards of the teeth brushing.

You can also reframe the experience of teeth brushing into something more fun. For example, you can bring your small child’s favourite toy into the bathroom whilst you are both brushing your teeth; you can then ask your child if they want to brush the teeth of their toy, this may inspire feelings that they are looking after the health of their toy in your child. This may make them less resilient to brushing their teeth in the future, as they may start to understand the health benefits of ensuring that they are brushing their teeth properly.

If your child is slightly older and understands the negative impact of germs on their health you can play a game with your child where you try to eliminate as many germs from their teeth as possible, you can assess your child’s teeth at the end to see if they have removed enough germs and ask them to brush again if needed. Framing brushing your teeth around the removal of germs may cause your child to brush their teeth to a better standard throughout their entire life, as you won’t always be around yourself to ensure that they do so.

Toothpaste And Toothbrushes

It is important that your child is happy with their toothpaste and it is suitable for your child’s age group. You should not be brushing your child’s teeth using adult toothpaste until they are at least 6 years old, as adult toothpaste has higher amounts of fluoride included than toothpaste marketed towards children. Higher fluoride levels in adult toothpaste can cause your child’s teeth to stain, which is why is it not advisable. You should also ensure that your child is happy with the flavour of toothpaste that they are using, if they tell you that they don’t want to use minty toothpaste you should listen to them and not buy minty toothpaste anymore unless they tell you otherwise. 

Choosing a good toothbrush for your child is another important consideration, you can reduce any negative feelings about brushing by letting your child pick their toothbrush. They may want a toothbrush that has a specific colour or they may want to pick one that has their favourite cartoon character on. There are even toothbrushes that play music or sing to your child whilst they are brushing their teeth. This may lead to your child looking forward to brushing their teeth instead of harbouring negative feelings about brushing their teeth. Children should change their toothbrushes every 3-4 months or if you notice that the toothbrush looks worse for wear, this helps your child to brush their teeth more effectively.

Promote Healthy Eating Habits

Reducing the amount of sugar in your child’s diet can help their teeth remain healthy, excess sugar can increase the chances of dental complications that may require fillings or tooth extraction. When you are buying food for yourself and your children you should look at the packaging of the product, most products bought in supermarkets have a traffic light label. This provides an easy-to-understand visual explanation of the nutritional components of food, including fat, saturates, sugar and salt. If the food product has excessive amounts of any of these it will be marked red and should not be consumed very often, if the label is orange you should take steps to reduce your consumption. Food marked green on this chart has low levels of these nutritional components and can be consumed whenever. 


Providing your child with healthy habits when it comes to dental health is important for the future of their teeth, they will thank you one day with a healthy happy white smile!

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