Did you know that February is National Children’s Dental Heath Month? With 1 in 4 children suffering from tooth decay by the time they start school in the UK, now’s a good time to stress the importance of getting into healthy oral habits at an early age. Here are some helpful tips… 
 
 
Be a good role model 
Children imitate the actions of those around them so if your own oral hygiene routine is lacking, they are likely to follow suit. Demonstrate healthy oral habits by showing them how to brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice daily for two minutes. Supervise brushing until they are aged seven or eight to make sure they are doing it correctly – you can make tooth cleaning a fun activity by singing a song as you brush or downloading an app like Brush DJ, which helps time cleaning to music. Encourage children to spit after brushing but not to rinse, as this will reduce the effectiveness of the protective ingredients in the toothpaste. 
 
Watch what they eat 
Banning sugar completely is not realistic. Instead, why not try limiting the amount of sugary foods in your child’s diet. Dental decay is the number one reason why children aged 5-9 are admitted to hospital in England – an entirely preventable situation that has much to do with high levels of sugar consumption. Avoid juices, fizzy drinks, sweets, and sugary cereals and snacks – instead, give your kids water or milk to drink and provide them with tooth-friendly snacks such as cheese, fruit, rice cakes, or breadsticks. 
 
Start flossing early 
Older adults often find flossing a difficult habit to get into because they were never exposed to it as children – the earlier you can teach your kids to floss, the better. Small interdental brushes are a good starting point as they are easy to grasp and will help your child get used to the movement of cleaning between their teeth. 
 
Give them some control 
Quality electric toothbrushes (plan to spend £40 to £70) take much of the unpredictability out of brushing, meaning that your child will do a better job when left to brush their own. Especially if you are still brushing your child’s teeth, an electric brush makes this quicker, more effective and ensures you get the best results, even when your child in having an uncooperative day! 
 
Keep regular dental check-up appointments 
Getting your children into the habit of visiting the dentist familiarises them with the process and makes it much less intimidating. At Park Dental Care, we take pride in creating a relaxed, friendly environment for patients of all ages and make sure we explain every procedure thoroughly so your child is comfortable in the dentist’s chair. We recommend making a first appointment for your child as soon as their first milk tooth appears and bringing them in every six months for a routine check-up. Call us today and one of our helpful team members will be happy to make you an appointment. 
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