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Dental tips for parents of young children

Here are some dental tips for you to cultivate good oral hygiene for your kids

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Written by NoFrills Dental

This dental article has been curated by the clinical team @ NoFrills Dental 🙂

March 3, 2022

kids

As a parent, your child’s health is a major priority, and their oral health is closely linked to their overall wellbeing. For instance, infection from dental issues can spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs, brain and heart. Good oral health in young children is also important for their dental development.

Although primary teeth – often referred to as milk teeth or baby teeth – will eventually fall out, they play a crucial role in reserving space for permanent, adult teeth.

Early loss of a baby tooth can result in adult teeth growing in crowded or crooked, requiring orthodontic treatment. Besides enabling your child to eat and speak properly, baby teeth also help to maintain facial structure.

Encouraging good oral health habits in your child can be challenging but will lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. So we’ve put together some top dental tips for parents.

Tooth decay among children is prevalent in Singapore, typically caused by:

  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Too many sugar-rich foods and drinks.

First, we’ll look at how to overcome the problem of poor dental hygiene.

Teach your child to brush and floss correctly

The earlier you introduce your child to the concept of oral hygiene, the easier it will be for them to make it a part of their daily routine, helping to keep their teeth strong and healthy. The most important aspects of good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay are brushing and flossing.

floss

Flossing

Brushing alone won’t remove all the bacteria and plaque that build up on teeth, so your child needs to get into the habit of flossing as well.

Teach your child how to floss for themselves by:

  • Gliding the floss gently between their teeth.
  • Shaping the floss in a C around each tooth.
  • Directing the floss into the gum line, moving it up and down the sides of each tooth.
  • Using a new piece of floss for each tooth.

Dental floss for kids is available in a variety of fun flavours, so let your child pick one they will like using.

kids toothbrush and toothpaste

Brushing

You will have been brushing your child’s teeth yourself until they’re around six years old. Once they’re capable of brushing their own teeth, you need to show them how to do it properly. Supervising their teeth brushing for a couple of years gives you the opportunity to instil in them a good oral health habit that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their life.

Teach your child to use the following brushing process, with a soft-bristled brush:

  • Brush the front surfaces of upper teeth.
  • Clean the fronts of lower teeth.
  • Brush the backs of upper teeth.
  • Clean the backs of lower teeth.
  • Brush the chewing surfaces of all the teeth.
  • Brush the tongue.
floss

Flossing

Brushing alone won’t remove all the bacteria and plaque that build up on teeth, so your child needs to get into the habit of flossing as well.

Teach your child how to floss for themselves by:

  • Gliding the floss gently between their teeth.
  • Shaping the floss in a C around each tooth.
  • Directing the floss into the gum line, moving it up and down the sides of each tooth.
  • Using a new piece of floss for each tooth.

Dental floss for kids is available in a variety of fun flavours, so let your child pick one they will like using.

kids toothbrush and toothpaste

Brushing

You will have been brushing your child’s teeth yourself until they’re around six years old. Once they’re capable of brushing their own teeth, you need to show them how to do it properly. Supervising their teeth brushing for a couple of years gives you the opportunity to instil in them a good oral health habit that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their life.

Teach your child to use the following brushing process, with a soft-bristled brush:

  • Brush the front surfaces of upper teeth.
  • Clean the fronts of lower teeth.
  • Brush the backs of upper teeth.
  • Clean the backs of lower teeth.
  • Brush the chewing surfaces of all the teeth.
  • Brush the tongue.
bad oral hygiene

Discourage bad oral habits

Teaching young children to avoid bad oral habits is as important as encouraging good brushing and flossing. Unhealthy behaviors involving the mouth can affect surrounding muscles, impairing facial growth and speech development.

Unhealthy oral habits can also result in:

  • Cavities
  • Tooth loss.
  • Crooked adult teeth.

Thumb sucking and nail biting are just two bad oral habits.

Others include:

  • Prolonged pacifier use.
  • Chewing ice (also a choking hazard).
  • Teeth grinding.
  • Jaw clenching
  • Sucking the lower lip.
  • Tongue thrusting (pushing the tongue between the teeth and against the lips when swallowing).
sweet food

Limit sugary snacks

Too many sugary snacks and drinks and can quickly lead to cavities in children’s teeth. Obvious culprits are sweet treats like chocolate and ice cream. But there may be a lot more sugar than you realise in everyday family-favourite foods and drinks regularly on your shopping list.

For example, you might want to check the small print on the packaging to see how much sugar juice drinks, breakfast cereals and cereal bars contain.

Kids also get a lot of sugar from:

  • Fizzy drinks.
  • Pastries, cakes and buns.
  • Biscuits

Healthier Alternatives

You can help your child to limit sugar-rich foods and drinks by introducing them to healthier options. Ask them to help you prepare nutritious fruit-based snacks. It’s a fun thing to do together, and they’re more likely to eat it if they’ve helped make it.You can also swap drinks with high sugar levels – sodas, juices and flavoured milks – for sugar-free drinks, low-fat milk, and plain water.

Healthy, tooth-friendly snacks that are easy to make include:

  • Low-sugar yoghurt topped with chopped berries.
  • String cheese on whole-grain crackers.
  • Hard-boiled eggs.
  • Raw vegetables.
  • Hummus

Cutting down on sugar intake will also help your child to reduce the risk of obesity and/or chronic diseases like diabetes in later life.

confused

When should kids see a dentist?

Parents are advised to schedule their child’s first dental appointment by the age of 12 months, or within six months of their first tooth appearing. Afterwards, six-monthly check-ups will enable early detection and treatment of any problems as they arise and before they develop into serious issues. Routine check-ups also include a professional dental cleaning, which further reduces the risk of tooth decay.

Getting your child accustomed to dental visits from an early age will help to nurture a positive perception of dental care and good oral health habits that will benefit them through to and during adulthood.

handshake

Finding a family-friendly dental practice

You’ll need to find a family-friendly dental clinic to support your efforts in teaching your child to look after their teeth properly at home. And your child’s dentist will become a key partner in your youngster’s dental development.

NoFrills Dental understands the importance of the close relationship between children’s oral health and their general health. That’s why our dental services are based on a holistic approach.

We also understand that getting kids to visit the dentist can be a challenge. That’s why we provide preventive and restorative treatments for kids in in a child-friendly environment designed to put our young patients at ease.

We use advanced technology and gentle treatment protocols to take the stress out of dental visits for kids, and we treat them as we would our own children.

Contact us to schedule a check-up for your youngster.

NoFrills Dental Team of Professionals | Professional Team of Dentists in Singapore | Best dentists in Singapore

Looking to get started on your brand new & improved smile? Speak to our dentists today!

Our team of experienced dentists are fully dedicated to providing patients with high-quality and affordable dental care. Our dentists are well-versed in the cosmetic dentistry, and highly adept in producing highly aesthetic and long lasting results for all of our patients.

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Our Dental Clinics

We are conveniently located at these locations:

NoFrills Dental @ Suntec City

3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City (North Wing)
#03-317
Singapore 038983

T: +65 6337 7319
E: suntec@nofrillsdental.com.sg

NoFrills Dental @ Marina Square

6 Raffles Boulevard,
Marina Square,
#B1-11
Singapore 039594

T: +65 6227 8885
E: marinasquare@nofrillsdental.com.sg

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