Learning Through Play

10 Tips For Looking After Your Kids’ Teeth

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Looking after your kids’ teeth is important – by instilling good dental habits early, you can encourage your kids to look after their teeth as they grow up. Here are just 10 tips for looking after your kids’ teeth.  

Start brushing their teeth as infants

When should you start brushing your kids’ teeth? Ideally as soon as they start eating solid foods. This is likely to be before they reach 12 months at which point teeth may still be coming through – whilst this may seem early, it’s at this point that your little one will start to develop plaque, which is why it’s important to start brushing.

Use the right toothpaste and toothbrush

You should make sure to use kids’ toothpaste until your children’s adult teeth start coming through, at which point you can move onto regular toothpaste. Kids’ toothpaste is low in fluoride and healthier for your kids. Infants may only need a pea-size amount. When it comes to toothbrushes, there are special infant toothbrushes for infants that smaller and much better suited for going into their mouths. Once your kid can start using a toothbrush themselves, you may want to encourage you kid to choose their own toothbrush. Kids toothbrushes come in all creative shapes with some shaped to look like Disney characters and others shaped to look like cars – your child may be more motivated to use a toothbrush if they had a part in choosing it.

Brush your teeth with your kids

Once your kids start brushing their own teeth, you may find that you need to provide some form of motivation – whilst some kids love brushing their teeth, others find it a chore. One way to keep your kids motivated is to brush your teeth with your kids. You’ll be leading by example and your kids will see it as a group activity helping to give it an element of fun. You can even instruct each other and play brushing games.

Make brushing fun with their favourite song

You can encourage your kids to brush thoroughly by a teeth brushing song for two minutes – the length of time which your kids should brush their teeth for morning and night. They can boogy while they brush!

Organise regular dentist check-ups

It’s worth organising regular trips to the dentist for your kids in order to catch any dental problems early. You may be able to find a specialist children’s dentist who may be able to make visits less scary (it’s often a bad experience with a dentist as a kid that develops a life-long fear). Dentist will be able to not only spot problems but recommend better brushing techniques if areas have been missed.  

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Delay introducing juice

You should also consider the foods and drinks that your kids’ consume. Fruit juice is one of the biggest causes of tooth decay in young kids and should be limited. Many kids stop drinking milk and water the moment they are introduced to juice. You can stop your kids getting a taste for it early by holding off and only giving them milk and water until they’re a toddler, at which point you can gradually introduce it as a treat.

Choose sugar-free/low-sugar soft drink options

You can also reduce the negative impact of sugary drinks by replacing them with sugar-free and low-sugar options. This is particularly important when it comes to fizzy drinks like coca cola and lemonade – in their regular form these drinks are full of sugar and they will quickly rot your kids’ teeth. Many sugar-free soft drinks use artificial sweeteners which have been known to have other side effects – you may want to read into these before buying these drinks.

Encourage milk

Other than water – milk is one of the healthiest drinks you can consume in terms of protecting your teeth. Milk is rich in calcium, which can help to strengthen your kids’ teeth as they are developing. Many parents stop giving their kids milk once they move out of the infant stage, but your kids should ideally be drinking milk throughout their childhood.

Give out sweets only as treats

Most of us know the danger of feeding a kid too many sweets. Try to limit sweets only as occasional treats so that your kid understands that they’re not foods to be consumed regularly. Sweets should only be given out when your kids have been behaving well and shouldn’t be given out as a comforter – if every time you kid cries, you comfort them by giving them sweets, they may a) use this as a manipulation tactic to get sweets and b) start associating sugar as a comfort food when unhappy. You definitely shouldn’t ban sweets outright as this will just encourage kids to want them even more – we all want what we can’t have.   

Be wary of hidden sugars

A lot of foods contain hidden sugars, which can be just as bad your children’s teeth. Kids’ cereals are a big source of sugar – a single bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios contains more than the recommended daily intake. Whilst this doesn’t mean you should stop giving your kids cereal, you may want to try introducing other breakfast options to vary things up. Hidden sugars can also exist in many foods that may seem savoury on the surface. Bread often contains lots of sugar to hide the bitterness of the yeast, whilst many kids’ lunch hams are even sweetened with sugar.

 

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Here is a fun activity to help your child understand why brushing their teeth twice a day is so important

Teething Brushing Fine Motor Activity for kindy and preschoolers

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43 Comments

  1. There’s are some awesome tips, we’ve got plenty of young mums in our circle – will be sending them this way!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing. All the best for a fab 2019!

  2. My youngest just got this two teeth and it’s almost to four but he will not take any cleaning I have been bitten million times it’s even funny by now. I guess I will just have to try harder.

    1. Perhaps try with a cool flannel to start with while you are brushing? Or a little song? We sing brush, brush, brush your teeth. Brush them twice a day. Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, fighting tooth decay! To the tune of Row, row, row your boat 😉

  3. These are amazing tips for helping care for kid’s teeth. We do these and I can say they are all so helpful!

    1. Thank you for your kind words!

  4. These are awesome tips for keeping good dental hygiene for your children. I like the idea of brushing with your children it is two birds with one stone

    1. Thank you! Brushing with your children certainly does concrete the value of proper dental hygiene and it allows you to keep an eye on the rascals too 😉

  5. Great tips! My 13 year old is the worst at brushing his teeth.

    1. Thank you! I think it’s the age! I remember my brother going through the stinky boy stage 😂 I’m not looking forward to the battles ahead with Mr 10.

  6. Great tips to get those kids to brush their teeth. I grew up without any tooth brushing help as my mom was overwhelmed with a drunk husband and I lost so many teeth,

    1. Thank you. I’m sorry to hear you didn’t have the support growing up. Just goes to show the importance of those few minutes of brushing each day.

  7. Summer Mitch Ryan says:

    Great tips thanks. Aside from these, I explain to my children that eating food rich in calcium, vitamin C, and a dose of sunlight are also essential.

    1. You’re welcome! Yes, that’s another really important tip. A quality diet can have such a huge impact on our health

  8. Those are very good suggestions and quite applicable. Children need to learn those early in age or else the good habits doesn’t set it.

    1. I agree with you. Starting healthy habits from the get go will only make them more sustainable.

  9. In Norway, children are only allowed sweets on Fridays (they call it fredagskos) and holidays 😉 I’d love to follow that principle when I get kids. Plus going to the dentist is free until one reaches 18 yo. I believe that prevention is better than cure, so it’s nice to read the tips from you as well!

    1. I must agree with you 100%! Prevention is certainly much better than a cure. It sounds like Norway have made some brilliant steps to looking after their youths teeth.

  10. Probably my mom would need these suggestions when I was little girl XD

    1. My mum was always on my back to brush my teeth. I much preferred to just eat the toothpaste

  11. I don’t know why, it brushing teeth is a crazy time for our kiddos. Our 2 year old has serious sensory problems, so we are always looking for new tricks to get her to calm down enough to brush her teeth without having to hold her down basically.

    1. Teeth brushing can be extremely overwhelming for a child. Perhaps consult with a paediatric dentist who may be able to advise on making teeth brushing more enjoyable for all involved?

  12. wanderwithola says:

    What a list of awesome suggestions! The tooth brushing song actually seems to be a great idea! I will pass this article to my sister, to help her on looking after my niece’s teeth.

    1. Thank you! So glad to read you love it! Thanks for stopping by

  13. Mom Life Optimized says:

    This is some really great info! Thank you for this. It’s always an area and time of the day that can be crazy.

    1. Thank you and you are most welcome! Thanks for dropping by

  14. This is very helpful information. I don’t have children yet, but when I do, I’ll remember these tips!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by!

  15. These are some awesome tips! My nephews ask to brush their teeth every morning with me, even if they’ve already brushed. I think its the cutest thing in the world! They’re such good brushers

    1. Oh how sweet! That sounds like a memory that will stay with them even once they have grown up!

  16. Ruth I says:

    These are great tips to follow! My sister is worried of my niece’s teeth because she likes to eat sweets so much. I pass this to her.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. How old is your niece? Perhaps if she is old enough, maybe she could make her own list of ways to look after her teeth that she could use as a goal sheet? Thanks for dropping by!

  17. Adaleta Avdić says:

    These are all so important to keep in mind!

    1. I think so too. Establishing healthy dental habits from the get go is a worthy investment.

  18. Monique Starks says:

    I love the idea of brushing your teeth with your children and playing their favorite song. Great tips!

    1. Time flies when your having fun! Bopping and brushing along to their fav tune may turn a boring task into something they look forward too! Thanks for dropping by x

  19. Super duper agree 100% I am a stickler to dental health, too, after being raised by a dental aide. haha I try to follow the same for my kids.

    1. Ooo! I bet you would have some great tips up your sleeve too! Thanks for dropping by!

  20. These are indeed such helpful tips especially for those who are first time moms. So many things to consider in raising up a kid and making sure there teeth is properly taken care of is a must too.

  21. Great tips on how to keep the little ones teeth clean. I know my kids when they were young it was such a struggle !!

  22. Your post is just in time, as my kid just turned 1 and we will begin brushing her teeth! Thank you very much for all the advice! We have managed to keep her “sugar free” for the first year, we will see if we manage that for another year at least! 🙂

    1. Happy birthday little one and high fives for parenting for one year! Woot woot! You are most welcome! Well done for keeping her sugar free- with all that available these days, that certainly is tricky. Thanks for dropping by!

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