Raising a child comes with all sorts of demands. From finding the rights schools and buying shoes every five minutes to nutrition and emotional development, there’s plenty to think about. And of course amongst all of these factors, there’s dental hygiene to consider too.
So to make your life a little easier and take at least one thing off your list of worries, here are five top tips for looking after your children’s teeth.
1) Brush during the day
Brushing doesn’t have to be exclusive to mornings and bedtimes. Ideally, brushing should occur any time after eating. Encourage your child to brush after snacks or after lunch at school by packing a compact travel toothbrush in their backpack. Don’t panic if they don’t brush after every single snack, but helping them to develop this healthy habit will only aid their dental hygiene as they get older.
2) Start flossing young
Flossing helps to keep teeth in tip top shape and reduces the risk of gum disease. Getting your kids used to flossing from an early age will help to make it a part of their daily habits as they get older. You can start flossing your children’s teeth as soon as their teeth start growing closer together. This can range anywhere between the ages of two and six.
Of course, as your children’s fine motor skills begin to improve, they can start flossing independently. The age when this occurs will naturally vary from child to child, but usually by about age 10 your child should be able to floss on their own.
3) Straws protect teeth
Though they may be bad from the environment, using straws can help reduce the damage sugary drinks can have on your child’s teeth. Of course, your child will be better by avoiding them entirely, but if they do enjoy the odd fruit juice or soda, get them in the habit of using a straw.
And if you’re worried about the environmental impact, you can achieve this without plaguing our oceans with more plastic. There are many reusable or recyclable alternatives on the market today such as paper or metal straws. To avoid any potential accidents or collisions, we suggest paper straws whilst your children are young.
4) Limit sugar intake
You’re probably well aware that there are a million reasons to limit your child’s (and your own) sugar intake. From heart disease to diabetes, there are endless illnesses that can occur from overusing sugar. And your oral hygiene is no exception. Too much sugar can have a damaging effect on your child’s oral hygiene (as well as your own).
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have any sugar at all however, it’s just about finding a healthy balance. Generally speaking, try to lead by example and encourage your child to enjoy healthier alternatives such as fruit. You can also reinforce good behaviour by allowing the tooth fairy to visit when they make healthy choices.
5) You could be eligible for government benefits
Like most things in Australia, dental care can be expensive. But the good news is that you could be eligible for the child dental benefit scheme. Provided by Medicare, this scheme could cover part or the full cost of some dental services for children.
Amongst other things, the scheme can cover up to $1,000 over two calendar years for basic dental services such as check-ups, X-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals and extractions.
Eligibility requirements apply but you could potentially claim benefits for your child’s dental care if they are eligible for Medicare, are aged between 2 and 17 years old for at least 1 day of the calendar year or they get an eligible payment at least once that year. Full eligibility details are available via the Australian Government Department of Human Services.
So there you go. Five top tips to help make looking after your kids teeth that little bit easier and perhaps a lot cheaper!
To read more on topics like this, check out the health category.