Yes the oral image is distressing to say the least! Sadly I have come across incidents of children under the age of six with decaying teeth.
As parents there are things we must do to avoid this:
1) Leaving young children to brush their teeth unsupervised
It is rewarding to witness your child gaining their independence in doing things for themselves and seeing that your perseverance whilst teaching them to brush their teeth has finally paid off. However, children have a way of taking shortcuts especially when excited about having a learnt a new skill, they may have a tendency to skip vital steps. This is why even though you may be confident your child has got the brushing of their teeth all by themselves down-packed, you still must check up until the age of 7 to be sure!
2) Letting your child’s tantrums and refusal rule over your efforts to help brush their teeth
Some children really look forward to brushing their teeth, especially if they see their older siblings engaging in this activity, this is great and makes the initiation into the world of teeth brushing an easier job. However, this is not the same experience on the whole, some children hate the idea of brushing their teeth, this may be out of fear of the unknown or disliking the idea of a toothbrush being inserted into their mouth. Despite the challenge this may present, the oral health of your child must reign supreme. Allowing these challenges to prevent you as the parent from ensuring your child had good dental hygiene is a “no”, “no.” To engender your child to the idea and practice of brushing their teeth show them and sing along with this cool video.
3) Thinking it’s OK to let children have their night time drink after they have brushed their teeth for bed
The bedtime routine often includes a nightcap, due to sugars contained in them which can cause decay of not brushed away before bed, ensure you brush your child’s teeth after their nightcap, last thing before they get into bed.
4) Failing to educate your children on the importance of brushing their teeth
As every parent knows or soon discovers, children go through a phase of asking the question “why?”. It’s very important to educate a child on why something is good for them, you can do this by showing them in a way they can understand i.e. pictures, video’s practical demonstration so they can get on board with the idea and teach others. Peer-to-peer education works wonders when teaching new skills
5) Making brushing of your children’s teeth a chore instead of a playful exercise
Yes you may have learnt to brush your teeth decades ago but remember that this is new to your child and patience is key as well as making it fun with song and hand clapping etc. You can also introduce a reward system for each time they brush their teeth or allow you to do so willingly.
Remember your child’s oral health is as important as your own, a trip to the dentist twice a year should help spot any problems as well as present the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have with your child’s teeth.
For more information on how to practice good oral hygiene with your child view this great PDF. * I’m not an advocate for products containing fluoride here’s why. Despite this the rest of the information is excellent, read and download it.