Oral disease is largely preventable, but many children still suffer from tooth decay (dental caries). This can mean pain, sleepless nights and sometimes major dental treatment, including extraction of teeth.
Because tooth decay in the baby teeth can mean that a child will develop tooth decay in the adult (permanent) teeth, it is important that they adopt good oral hygiene habits early in life.
Eat Well – Eating a wide variety of nutritious foods is important, especially during childhood when growth and development are occurring. It is important to encourage healthy eating behaviours that can contribute to good oral health and wellbeing.
Drink well – Encourage children to drink plenty of tap water, especially if you live in a fluoridated area , as this will help fight tooth decay. Sugary drinks such as soft drinks, sports drinks, cordials and fruit juices contribute to tooth decay, so try to limit how much of these your child drinks.
Clean well – Thorough tooth cleaning with the correct technique is required keeping the teeth and gums healthy. Good oral hygiene at an early age will reduce the likelihood of gum disease in later life. Encourage children to brush their teeth at least twice a day
Play Well – If a child plays football, hockey, cricket or any other contact sports where their mouth may be knocked or injured, they need a mouth guard for both training and playing.
Stay well – It is important that children develop healthy habits from an early age for healthy teeth and mouths, such as tooth brushing, a nutritious diet, protection from the sun and regular visits to the dentist. Oral health check-ups should start as soon as the first tooth appears and no later than 12 months of age.
Thumb and finger sucking- Once the permanent or secondary teeth begin to erupt may affect your child’s appearance, speech and ability to bite. It may also cause teeth to grow out of line.
There are various things you can do to help your child to stop sucking their thumb:
Reward your child and offer encouragement to reinforce their decision to stop the habit.
Limit nagging. If children feel they are being nagged, they may become defensive.
Mark their progress on a calendar by placing a star or a tick for each period (such as a day or week) that your child does not suck their thumb or finger. Provide a special outing or a toy if your child gets through the period successfully.
Encourage bonding with a special toy.
Reminders – give your child a mitten to wear, or place a band aid over the thumb at bedtime as a reminder not to suck.
Offer distractions – while your child is watching TV, have toys available that they can play with. Sit with your child during this time and cuddle them to help them not to suck. In the car, have toys available to keep your child occupied.
Teeth Straightening and Orthodontics – Some children may require orthodontic treatment such as braces or plates to correct teeth and jaw alignment problems such as crooked or crowded teeth. It can be more difficult to keep teeth and gums healthy with all the wires and brackets needed to move the teeth.
It is vital that children clean their braces and plate every time they brush their teeth
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