Teaching your child to care for his teeth
Handing over control of your child’s toothbrush can be a big moment – if only because now you have to trust that you’ve taught him well how to care for his own teeth, and aside from a quick inspection each day, you’re giving him a little more autonomy over his own body.
The key to cavity-free teeth is teaching your child to thoroughly clean each tooth in his mouth. Most children don’t have the coordination to use a toothbrush properly before the ages of 6 or 7, so make sure that until then you assist him to brush – making sure that you get the brush right up to the back teeth. Even if he insists that he can do the job himself, give his teeth a quick (but thorough!) going-over yourself.
If his gums bleed (gingivitis) when he brushes his teeth, it means that bacteria have sat on his teeth for too long and that cleaning has been ineffective. To get them healthy again, you’ll need to clean his gums more often, even if it means that they bleed when they’re brushed.
It’s vital that your child develop good oral care habits early in life – it will save him a lifetime of misery and expense later.
How to brush:
You should start taking your child to the dentist regularly from about the age of one – even if it’s just so that s/he can sit in the big chair! Regular visits will mean that your child will be relaxed each time s/he visits the dentist. It also means that a health professional will be consistently keeping an eye out for any potential dental problems.
Most dental work these days is preventative – don’t wait until there’s a problem before you visit the dentist. Regular visits to the dentist will save pain and money in the long run.
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