Dental decay can happen at any age so good oral hygiene practices need to start as soon as your child is born.
Babies and toddlers are at just as much risk of dental decay as an older child or adult, so caring for your baby's teeth needs to begin at birth. By establishing good oral hygiene habits early, your child will be well equipped to have healthy teeth for life.
If your toddler resists teeth cleaning or struggles to sit still for two minutes, try these suggestions:
- Consider a battery-powered tooth brush, which adds novelty to cleaning their teeth
- Sing nursery rhymes or play a favourite song while you help your child brush their teeth
- Offer a reward every time your toddler allows you to brush for two minutes
- Encourage your child to practise teeth cleaning (under your supervision) to instill good oral hygiene habits in them from an early age. Some toddlers like to be independent so it is a good idea for them to use one toothbrush while you use another one and take turns at brushing
- Make flossing and brushing as much fun as you can to avoid any negative association or resistance. Be sure to talk to your dentist if you need more advice
It is important to set a good example
Children tend to imitate their parents' behaviours. If oral hygiene and looking after your teeth are important to you, they will be important to your child. Talk to your child about the importance of healthy teeth. A child who understands that teeth have to last a lifetime is more likely to take care of them.
Visit your dentist regularly to maintain your own oral health, which will in turn benefit your child.