How to keep your children's teeth healthy

If you want to reduce the chance of your child developing tooth decay and gum disease, it's crucial to do what you can to keep their teeth healthy. Here are two ways to do this.

Turn their dental hygiene activities into a game

A lot of young children dislike having to brush and floss their teeth twice a day and will do everything in their power to try to postpone or even skip their dental hygiene activities. If you often experience this problem with your own children and are concerned about the impact it may be having on their dental health, don't worry; there are ways to encourage them to stick to a consistent routine.

Firstly, consider investing in some new, colourful toothbrushes. If your child has a favourite cartoon character, look for a brush which features an image of that particular character. Themed novelty brushes can help to make tooth-brushing feel like a fun activity, rather than a chore.

Additionally, you might want to create a reward system which will help to motivate them to maintain their dental health. You could, for example, place a sticker on a chart each time that they brush and floss their teeth. Then, after they have accumulated a specific number of stickers, you could reward them with, for example, some pocket money, a new toy or a day out at the local theme park. This will turn a once-boring activity into an enjoyable game for your children.

Lastly, to ensure they spend enough time on the teeth-cleaning process, play their favourite song in the background whilst they brush and encourage them to continue brushing for the length of that song. Given that most music pieces are at least a couple of minutes long, this should help to ensure that they do a thorough job of brushing.

Prioritise dental visits

It is absolutely vital to bring your child to the dentist for check-ups at least twice a year. This will enable your dentist to identify and treat decay and other dental issues at the earliest possible stage before they develop into more complex problems which will be harder and more painful to address. For example, a small cavity caused by tooth decay is relatively easy to deal with; in most cases, it can be treated with a filling. Having a filling placed into a tooth is usually a very quick, simple and largely painless process.

However, if the decay is left untreated for too long, it could cause inflammation in the pulp of the tooth, which may then lead to the dentist having to carry out endodontic (i.e. root canal) therapy. This procedure often takes far longer than the insertion of a filling and is a great deal more uncomfortable for the patient. As such, if you wish to save your child from having to go through complex and potentially painful dental treatments, it's essential to ensure that they always attend their dental check-ups.