It’s that time of the year again where the shops are filled with ‘back to school’ signs, and shelves are lined with new pencil cases, backpacks and stationery. Whether your children are starting at a new school, or carrying on into a new class, you’ll likely be planning ahead, and making the preparations needed for the new academic year. Whilst you’re booking haircuts and measuring feet for new school shoes, it’s also a good time to think about oral health, and to ensure that you’re establishing healthy routines that will set your child in good stead for the future. Today we’re bringing some facts and tips that might help you when thinking about your child’s oral hygiene routines:
Children start to develop baby or milk teeth at approximately 6 months. Over the next 18 months they will develop their full set of 20 baby teeth. So, by the time they are 2 years old, they should have a full set of baby teeth. When your child reaches the age of 6/7years, their adult teeth will start to appear. All their adult teeth should have appeared by the age of 13. Wisdom teeth then tend to appear between the ages of 18 and 25.
Many parents are concerned about knowing when it would be best to take their child to the dentist for their first time. We would advise that you bring your child in as early as possible. This will give them a chance to begin to get used to the sounds, sights and smells associated with a dental check-up.
Initially, your child will need a special toothbrush designed for children. They will need your supervision and support with brushing until at least the age of 7 years. It can be easier to stand behind your child whilst they are brushing their teeth: it may make it easier for them to reach their top and bottom teeth if you cradle their chin in your hand. You will need to teach your child how to brush, and how to move around the different areas of their mouth making sure they don’t miss any. Ensure they concentrate on small areas at a time, and use small, circular movements. As your child becomes older, you can transition them to an adult toothbrush: start with one with soft bristles and a small head initially. Ensure you embed brushing into your daily routines, so that it becomes a normal and expected part of daily life from an early age. Praise and encouragement is vital to supporting the development of these positive routines.
If you’d like more advice and information about supporting your child with their oral health, the Oral Health Foundation has lots of guidance on their website. Additionally, we’re happy to help: give us a call, or speak to your dentist when you next visit.