Taking care of children’s teeth is a heavy responsibility, particularly once your kids have grown beyond the age of toddlers and need to develop a routine to clean their teeth independently. Try sharing these fun facts to fulfil your children’s natural sense of curiosity.
Fun facts to inspire dental health
Share a new fact each night at teeth-brushing time. Then you can cross your fingers and hope they will develop an interest in dental hygiene and learn to love their toothbrush.
Eat your cheese
Eating cheese helps prevent cavities by increasing saliva production and reducing acid levels in the mouth. Cheese not only helps prevent cavities, but the high calcium content also helps rebuild tooth enamel. After eating most foods, bacteria go crazy over the sugar on your teeth, like ants at a picnic. The bacteria break down into acids that eat away tooth enamel and cause holes that need drilling and filling at the dentist. So eating tooth-friendly food like cheese is a great idea.
Why lollies are the enemy
Bacteria normally found in the mouth feed off sugars and starches. If your kids don’t brush their teeth after eating sweet, sugary foods and carbohydrates, plaque quickly grows on their teeth. Plaque builds up if it’s not brushed off regularly and causes decay, which can lead to fillings at the dentist.
The beginnings of tooth decay can be difficult to spot so regular brushing and flossing, six-monthly visits to the dentist and healthy eating and drinking are the best ways to avoid tooth decay.
How rough are your teeth
Toeach your kids to check their teeth by running their tongue over them – if their teeth don’t feel smooth then it’s time to brush. When teeth feel bumpy or rough, plaque is present and ready to attack the tooth enamel. Dental plaque is made up of about 300 different kinds of bacteria.
Your tongue is unique
No two people have the same fingerprints and the same is true for tongues and teeth. Our tongue has its own unique tongue print, that no one else has. Imagine if people collected tongue prints instead of fingerprints as a form of identification.
Two sets of teeth is all
We only get two sets of teeth in our life, and you’ll spend about 38.5 days on average brushing them in your life. Without your teeth, you can’t talk properly. Try saying “teeth” without front teeth. It won’t sound right.
Brush twice a day
Your kids should brush their teeth at least twice a day and preferably after each meal. If they don’t have a toothbrush nearby after eating (at school, for instance), encourage them to rinse their mouth out with water. Rinsing alone, while not as good as brushing, removes food and reduces bacteria in the mouth.
So you think you don’t like the taste of toothpaste
Most kids complain about the mintiness of adult toothpastes, but before we had minty pastes, people couldn’t clean their teeth properly and were lucky if they had all their teeth once they reached adulthood. Before today’s toothpastes, people would brush their teeth with sticks, use bicarb soda over their teeth or rub with charcoal or chalk to get their teeth clean. Another trick was to brush with ashes left after a fire. Ick. Explain this to your kids and they’ll start looking at plain old mint toothpaste in a new light.
Think like a pea when it comes to toothpaste
When your kids brush, teach them that they don’t need a lot of toothpaste, just squeeze out a bit the size of a pea. It’s not a good idea to swallow the toothpaste, either, so ensure they rinse and spit after brushing.
Fast facts for your kids to know about having great teeth
- Brush all of your teeth, not just the front ones. Spend some time on the teeth along the sides and in the back. Take your time while brushing.
- Spend at least 2 or 3 minutes each time you brush. If you have trouble keeping track of the time, use a timer or play your favourite song.
- Be sure your toothbrush has soft bristles and get a new toothbrush every 3 months. The smaller the brush, the better it is for children.
- Learn how to floss your teeth, which is a very important way to keep them healthy. It feels weird the first few times you do it, but pretty soon you’ll be a pro. Slip the dental floss between each tooth and along the gum line gently once a day. The floss gets rid of food that’s hidden where your toothbrush can’t get it, no matter how well you brush.
- You can also brush your tongue to help keep your breath fresh!
- Visit the dentist twice a year. Besides checking for signs of cavities or gum disease, the dentist will help keep your teeth extra clean and can help you learn the best way to brush and floss.
Dental care begins during pregnancy
Pregnant women need to eat a good-quality, high-nutrition diet as the foetus develops to make sure the best quality teeth are formed beneath the gums. Most parents like to take their child on their first visit to the dentist by the age of two, to allow her to become familiar with the dentist and not get scared.
Why it’s important to look after baby teeth
Even though children lose their first set of teeth, it’s important to look after them and keep them healthy. The consequences of severe decay in baby teeth include:
- a higher risk of new decay in other baby and permanent teeth
- more complicated and expensive treatment later on
- pain in the dentist’s chair
Baby teeth also have the important role of guiding adult teeth into the right spot. If baby teeth are lost too early, treatment by an orthodontist might be required down the track. Cleaning and caring for your child’s teeth early on sets up good dental habits for life.