Children’s Oral Health: Why Parents are a Big Influence

by | Jul 30, 2021 | Resources

Raising a child can be hard – there are a million things to worry about, from head lice to bruised knees, and everything in between. If you can begin caring for your children’s oral health right from the very start, it can make life a whole lot easier as they get older. 

Here at Beaches Dental Mona Vale, we love helping parents throughout the Northern Beaches with their children’s oral health! We have a few tips to help you ensure your child has the best start to a life of healthy teeth and gums:

Parents role in children’s oral health

Parents are constant role models to their children.  Kids rely on their parents for guidance on how to do many things in life, including look after their oral health. It’s important to note that parents are a major influence when it comes to the long-term oral health of children. 

Keeping a watchful eye, setting up good habits, and giving helpful encouragement to your children is the best way to avoid major dental issues in the future:

Children age 6 and younger

Taking care of a child’s oral health should begin from when those baby teeth start to come through their gums. Cleaning their teeth twice a day using a soft, clean piece of cloth or baby toothbrush, to begin with, will allow them to become accustomed to the sensation of brushing their teeth. Until they are able to hold and manoeuvre a toothbrush around their mouth, they will need plenty of your help. Most children will lose their first tooth at 6 and their last tooth at 12. As soon as your child has teeth in their mouth, they may be at risk of dental cavities. This is why children’s oral health should be a priority, even at a very early age.

Ages 7-12

Parents should consider supervising their children’s oral health routines for at least the first 12 years. Although brushing has become mostly independent at this age a lot of reminding and checking is still necessary. This is to ensure they are using proper techniques and brushing for the proper duration. Between the ages of 7-12 children`s permanent teeth are starting to come through as their baby teeth are lost. Adult toothpaste can be used at this stage. Encouraging children to begin flossing and using adult strength fluoride-based toothpaste is also recommended.

Ages 12-18

Children aged 12-18 are beginning to become much more independent and their permanent teeth are usually all through, perhaps with the exception of their wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, independence comes with many more options of foods and drinks. Parents must continue to stress the importance of good oral hygiene habits and a healthy, nutritious diet to reduce the risk of oral health issues.

Children’s oral health tips

Getting your children to do what they need to is hard at the best of times, but our team of dental professionals have a few tips to help you along the way:

Start them early

Children’s understanding of oral health is where it all begins. They may ask why they have to stand in front of the mirror two minutes every day before school or bed. It’s up to you as a parent to warn them of the dangers of dental diseases and the importance of preventative dentistry and having a healthy mouth as soon as they are old enough to understand it.

Teach them proper brushing technique

Teaching little ones how to brush their teeth is key when it comes to children’s oral health. Remind them to start with the chewing surfaces, then the outer surfaces of their teeth, followed by the inner surfaces, taking their time! And not to forget to brush their tongue. To promote good children’s oral health, kids should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes each time.

Get them excited about oral care (make things fun!)

Don’t make children’s oral health a chore! You can use helpful and gentle reminders and make it fun. Making up a story or game is a common technique. There are even apps for their devices to help encourage brushing and make it more of a game. Think of plaque and bacteria as evil monsters you are defeating every day (or something a little less scary for the young ones). At Beaches Dental Mona Vale, we have a lot of experience in children’s dentistry, and always do all we can to ensure positive dental experiences for your little ones.

Create and follow good oral habits

Children’s oral health always starts with the parents. Lead by example, make it fun and give them as much information as you can along the way. It won’t always be easy, but creating a healthy oral future for your children could save them a lot of discomforts, time and money in the future

Your Northern Beaches Children’s Dentist

Our Mona Vale family dental practice welcomes children of all ages to help them on their oral health journeys. We have created a gentle and warm environment to nurture children and their parents through all their important dental milestones. Contact our friendly team to make an appointment.