Preschoolers Oral Health: Sydney Parents’ Questions Answered
As a dentist based in North Sydney, I often hear questions from Sydney parents concerned about their preschoolers oral health. Establishing good oral hygiene habits takes time and patience, and the process should begin during your child’s first years because decay can attack even baby teeth.
To help parents in Sydney ensure their children’s teeth remain healthy, I have compiled below the six most common questions regarding preschoolers’ oral health.
When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
As soon as they appear. Use water and a small toothbrush with soft bristles until your bub is 18 months old. At 18 months, you can start brushing the teeth using low-fluoride toothpaste available over the counter in chemists and supermarkets. Tooth brushing should be a joint effort between you and your child until he or she has developed the manual skills required to effectively clean teeth. By the time there are 8-10 candles on the birthday cake, your child should be able to brush his or her own teeth.
When should I schedule my child’s first trip to a Sydney dentist?
By age 3, unless you spot problems before then. Try to choose a Sydney dentist who is experienced in treating kids so the first visit won’t leave all parties present traumatised.
When should my child start flossing?
When your child is around 2 1/2 years old, you should try to floss his or her teeth daily or at least a couple times a week. Floss holders can make the job a little easier. The Quality Dental team can offer you other helpful tips to make flossing your child’s teeth as stress free as possible.
My child absolutely refuses to let me clean his/her teeth. What should I do?
Use tried-and-true parenting tricks to get your child excited about daily oral hygiene. Let your child choose a toothbrush, play music during brushing, try an electric toothbrush for the novelty factor, or promise a reward (not lollies) after each successful brushing. Keep at it despite your child’s resistance, and eventually oral hygiene becomes a routine habit instead of a struggle.
What should I do if my child complains of a toothache?
First, make sure it’s a toothache. Sometimes kids can complain of a toothache when they actually have sore gums, a bitten tongue or emerging teeth. Look inside your child’s mouth to see if any food particles are lodged between the teeth or if you can spot a chipped tooth. Second, try relieving the pain by having your child rinse his or her mouth with some warm water. You can also try holding an ice pack against the affected area or giving an age-appropriate dose of over-the-counter pain medications. Third, make an appointment with your dentist if the pain persists.
How can I help my child prevent tooth decay and cavities?
Once your child has teeth, he or she is susceptible to tooth decay. Check your child’s teeth for the telltale signs of decay: dull white spots or lines on the teeth, or dark teeth. Supervise your child’s tooth brushing to prevent cavities and serve him or her a healthy diet of tooth-friendly foods while limiting sugary drinks and snacks. Schedule regular dental checkups for your child and if don’t wait to see us if you spot any signs of decay as it needs to be treated quickly to prevent infection and pain.