We all know that kids need to brush twice a day and avoid too many lollies or sugary foods to help their dental health. But what are the specifics? What foods should they avoid? What foods are beneficial? How long should they brush for in each session? How do I make them brush without having to argue every time?
At Warnbro Sound Dental, we understand the challenges facing parents and we hope to provide some information to arm you with in the fight to protect your children’s teeth. For other questions, simply book an appointment and ask at your next visit. The dentist is not just there to tell you what to do! They are your resident expert on dental issues, so come with your questions and we’d be happy to help.
Brushing – How long and how often?
- Children should be brushing for 2 minutes, and should do so in circles and not too hard.
- Ideally we recommend brushing your children’s teeth twice daily. However, if the battle with the tooth brush is just too hard, the optimum time of day is at night time, before bed.
- You should only place a pea size amount on the brush
- Even if the toothpaste is yummy, it is important to spit it out!
Brushing – How do I make my kids want to brush?
- Make it fun! Why not introduce some sort of star or sticker chart where your child gets a star or sticker each day they let you brush their teeth or brush their own teeth.
- Consider investing in an electric toothbrush. It is generally better than the manual brush and will maintain proper circles while your children are learning the technique. From your child’s perspective, it also makes it a little more exciting!
- Buy a fun egg timer to measure that your kids are cleaning their teeth for the correct amount of time.
- Find a song your kids like and for the two minutes it is playing they have to brush their teeth.
Foods to Avoid
It isn’t too hard to identify many of the foods that are best to minimise or avoid altogether. However one thing that many parents do not realise is that it takes the mouth 40 minutes to get its natural buffer against plaque after a hit of sugar.
What this means is that regular snacking means that the natural buffer doesn’t get the chance to build up. So ideally while it is best to minimise or avoid the below foods, at the very least it less damaging for your teeth to eat them in the one sitting, rather than snack over a longer period.
- Dried fruit and trail mix, while appearing healthy, are loaded with salt and sugar and are not the best option for your children’s teeth.
Foods That Help!
- Cheese – Preserves and regenerates tooth enamel, while at the same time, killing off bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. Cheese also produces much needed saliva.
- Kiwi Fruit – Vitamin C is important to prevent the collagen network in your gums from deteriorating, and with that, becoming more susceptible to bacteria. One Kiwi Fruit serving exceeds your recommended minimum daily intake, which is great!
- Water – Arguably the most important. Water Keeps the mouth and gums hydrated, and stimulates saliva, which is the best natural defence against plaque and bacteria. It also washes away foods that may have become trapped between teeth.
- Celery – It helps in two ways. Being chewy, it forces you to produce more saliva. Secondly, it has a naturally abrasive food surface which will help massage gums while cleaning between your teeth at the same time when chomped on.