A beautiful smile is a powerful asset no matter what age you are. When we smile our face lights up and we radiate happiness. A healthy smile is a happy smile and a healthy smile can be maintained with a proper dental hygiene routine.
Using the correct oral care products, having regular check ups and developing good habits from toddlers to teens and beyond is essential. To celebrate National Dental Health Month for Children, we asked Dr Lisa and Dr Vanessa Creaven from Spotlight Oral Care to share their expert advice to teach kids proper dental hygiene for a healthy smile.
Top Tips for a Heathy Smile
When to Begin
When it comes to establishing a good dental hygiene routine, the simple answer is from when the first tooth appears! For babies and toddlers under 2, it is about getting them used to the routine by using water and a specially designed soft brush or a piece of muslin cloth.
Simply dampen the brush or cloth and rub the teeth gently. Try to keep to a routine of brushing morning and night, as this gets your child used to the timing and having a toothbrush in their mouth.
From the age of 2 they can begin to use a small amount of toothpaste and their own toothbrush. Although it is advisable that you help and supervise children up to the age of 8 or 9 with brushing to ensure they get a good routine going.
Get the Right Toothpaste
Not all toothpastes are the same! And while fluoride is an essential active ingredient in all toothpaste, as it helps prevent cavities and decay, different amounts are added to toothpaste for adults and kids. It’s important therefore to choose the correct toothpaste for your child’s age.
Taste is also a factor, most kids don’t enjoy a strong mint taste and kids toothpaste comes in a range of flavours from strawberry to mild mint. If possible it should be toxin free and cruelty free too.
While a manual toothbrush works perfectly well, a sonic toothbrush brings brushing to a whole new level. This is especially true for kids, who may not have perfected their technique yet.
A sonic toothbrush, that has been designed for their age, will clean teeth more effectively without the need for a perfect technique. Ensuring that not only the surface of the teeth and gums are well cleaned, but all the difficult to reach in between spaces get the best clean they possibly can too.
Most are easy to operate, like the Spotlight Sonic Toothbrush range for children. And in addition the bright colours, different speed settings, easy to grip handle and two minute timer, will make brushing teeth and gums twice a day an altogether more exciting option than using a manual toothbrush.
Perfect Your Technique
Brushing should be done at least twice a day and ideally after food and drink, especially fruit juice. Children should aim their toothbrush at a 45°angle toward their gum line for the best clean. Both the inside and outside surfaces of the teeth and gums need to be cleaned in this way.
If using a manual toothbrush, they should make gentle, circular movements along the line of the gum, where plaque usually starts to grow. On the chewing surfaces of teeth they should use a light back and forth action.
Don’t rinse after brushing, simply spit out excess toothpaste, as the active ingredients in the toothpaste will continue to protect teeth during the day/night.
Ask your dentist to demonstrate when you next visit. And you could even bring along their toothbrush so they can show the dentist how they brush and adjustments can be made if necessary.
Regular Check Ups
I always brought my children with me when I visited the dentist for a check up. It got them used to going, so when the time came for them to go, they were excited about getting a turn in the dentist’s chair themselves!
Regular check ups are essential so that any issues can be detected early and are usually less invasive to sort out. Book them in for an annual check up to help maintain a healthy smile.
It’s essential to prioritise your child’s oral care from teething babies through to toddlers, teens and beyond because helping them develop a healthy relationship with their smile now will support their oral health into adult life.
Check out the Sonic Toothbrush for Children from Spotlight Oral Care and you can sign up to be notified when they are back in stock.