Any one who has a child understands the joy of getting them to brush their teeth! I’ve even tried turning it into different games including a fun competition to see who can wiggle their bum the fastest while the other person brushes. Needless to say I’m always the clear winner here although James might not agree.
At the other end of the scale I have told horror stories about teeth falling out from too many sweets and in reply I get “that’s ok these teeth fall out mum and I get new ones which is Epic” First of all where on earth did he learn the word epic and secondly I still had a tooth brushing dilemma.
I’m at the dentist a lot these days as my teeth have always caused me heartache from braces to caps and crowns it seems there’s no end to my pain but just as I was nearing the end of almost weekly visits at Mydental I mentioned James to Natalia and she told me that because I was a patient she would see James for free. They see all their patients’ kids for free, which in James words I thought was epic.
Epic however is most certainly not the word James used when I told him and he promised he would never ever run away and hide when I mentioned his teeth again. Needless to say that evening he ran away and as I’m a parenting columnist I decided to take some of my own advice and follow through which meant a trip to the dentist. It’s incredible what following through on what you say achieves as sometimes I’m just too exhausted and give in.
Well can you believe he loved it, yes you heard me he absolutely loved the dentist. He was flirting with the girls (I’m in big trouble down the road) and turning on his five year old charm and he even suggested in the car that he should go back soon!
We got the coolest little bag with a toothbrush, floss and a sand timer. James has a blue one and I have a pink one and yes I am that sad as these things make me very happy. Natalia showed James how to brush his teeth properly and explained that he needs to keep brushing till the sand in the timer is empty. She also said she could clearly see where the sweets were starting to do damage and please give this woman an award as he is now telling me to be careful with treats. I really hope this is not a phase as he brushes morning and night with minimal effort now and watches closely to make sure that we are brushing properly and for long enough.
I was thinking if I had a timer years ago my time in the dentists chair might be significantly less as I have realized that I definitely don’t brush for long enough myself another curse of our frantic busy lives these days.
On a serious note though My Dental recommend bringing your child to the dentist before his or her first birthday and at this initial visit, they will check your child’s teeth for decay and signs of early developmental problems, explain how to care for your child’s teeth and answer any questions or concerns you might have.
It’s recommended that children should then see a dentist every six months. James has just turned 5 so I’m a bit behind. I did take him once when he was only one and I have been cleaning his teeth ever since so I presume I get brownie points for that one! . However it is advised that you should start cleaning a child’s teeth when the first tooth is visible, because teeth are susceptible to decay as soon as they appear in the mouth. My friend from NYC sent me baby dental wipes when James was a newborn as a gift and I used them all the time. You can get dental wipes here now in boots from an English company called Brush Baby for €5.49 and they are super easy to use and take with you. You should try and wipe the baby’s teeth and gums clean after every feeding with wipes or a soft, damp washcloth or gauze pad.
A leading cause of tooth decay among young children is known as “baby bottle syndrome.” When an infant is allowed to drink from a nursing bottle containing milk, formula or fruit juice during naptime or at night, the baby often falls asleep with the bottle in his or her mouth. Exposure to the sugars and acids in these liquids that pool around the teeth can cause discoloration and decay.
Since breast milk contains sugar, decay also can occur when a baby falls asleep while breast-feeding. To prevent damage to the teeth, clean your child’s teeth after each feed and, if necessary, give them a bottle filled only with water at bedtime or during a nap.
A balanced diet is also an important contributor to healthy teeth and gums. Children especially need calcium, which helps build strong teeth. Good sources of calcium are green leafy veg, milk, cheese and yogurt.
By the time your child is 3 they should be brushing their own teeth with your supervision of course. I let James brush his and then just finish them off for him. Only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is necessary. It’s also recommended you start flossing your child’s teeth daily when all the primary teeth are in or when teeth are touching each other. Now this is something that is pretty impossible in our house but I will keep trying.
By age 8 then your children should be able to brush and floss by themselves, with occasional checks. Like I mentioned before you can turn brushing and flossing into a daily routine by making it fun. Do the wiggle dance, use a timer and have a race or give them a colourful or musical toothbrush and flavoured floss like mint.
With your guidance and proper personal and professional care, your children will have a good foundation for maintaining healthy teeth and I know one thing for sure I certainly don’t want James ending up like me.
What do you think? Have you any tips? Please share below!!