The A to Z of kids teeth

The A-Z of kids teeth | Mum's Grapevine

Before our babies are even born the teething process has already begun. Tiny little tooth start developing six weeks after conception, and by the time you are halfway through your pregnancy your baby will have everything it needs to grow the teeth that will hopefully last them until retirement.

Dentists will tell you that the key to healthy, happy teeth is to establish good oral hygiene from the day that first tooth pokes through. So together with a few of our friends* we’ve created this handy A to Z of kids teeth to help you nurture some healthy little chompers.

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An APPLE a day might actually keep the dentist away! Munching on a nice juicy apple helps create saliva, and saliva is important because it helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease while protecting your tooth’s enamel. Not sure what enamel is? Keep scrolling.

The BIGGEST problem dentists see with kids teeth is dental decay. Nearly 50% of Australian children under the age of six have dental decay which results in pain, bad breath and/or the removal of teeth. Dental decay can also affect your child’s growth and speech development.

Regardless of age, no one wants to hear the word CAVITY when they visit the dentist. A cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by dental decay. A healthy diet and regular brushing can help minimise the risk of your child (and you) getting one of these nasty little things.

Despite popular belief, DENTISTS aren’t evil money stealers, they’re just doing their job like everyone else (and that student loan won’t pay itself). However, it is important to pick a dentist that is right for your child and not just the first clinic that pops up on Google. Ask family and friends which dentist they use and why. A little bit of research could save you a lot of time, money and tears further down the track.

In a nutshell tooth ENAMEL is pretty much just that: a shell. Enamel is the toughest tissue in the human body and protects your teeth from all your mouths chores such as biting and grinding. A great way to protect your little person’s enamel it to limit sugary and acidic foods.

Do the under-5 club need to FLOSS? Good question! Yes, children who have two teeth that touch each other should be flossing. The humble toothbrush can’t reach food trapped inbetween teeth so flossing is the only way to get rid of it. Here is a quick and easy guide to flossing.

As teeth GROW they can cause all sorts of pain for little mouths. Babies generally start getting teeth around six months old (give or take a few months) and the pain can vary. There are all sorts of ways to ease teething pain including massaging the area with a finger or chilled wash-cloth, or using teething rings. How did you manage your child’s teething pain? Share your top teething tips with us!

HOW do you brush little teeth properly? We’re glad you asked! Start by sitting behind your child as you both sit in-front of a mirror. Angle the bristles of the toothbrush towards the gum. Move the brush in gentle circles to clean the outer and inner sides of the teeth and gums. Lift your child’s lips to brush the front and back of the teeth and at the gum line. And to finish off gently brush your child’s tongue. Easy Peasy!

A great way to promote healthy teeth and gums is to make healthy teeth and gums INTERESTING. If you venture over to the book-market (see what we did there?) there’s a huge range of books that make mouth maintenance fun including Ginger McFlea Will Not Clean Her Teeth.

JUNK food such as sweets, fizzy drinks and fruit juices with high levels of acid can lead to tooth decay and other problems.

Looking for the perfect tooth-related KEEPSAKE? Why not have your child’s first tooth turned into a necklace? Once it’s fallen out naturally of course! Mum’s Grapevine does not condone stealing teeth to make jewellery.

Ever wondered how LONG you should brush for? Well we have the answer! Most dentists recommend you brush your gnashers for 2 minutes, twice a day. Using a soft children’s toothbrush gently brush each tooth and gum in a circular motion.

According to our team in the know, MOUTHWASH can sometimes do more harm than good and should only be used under medical advice. Children don’t fully develop their protective swallowing reflex until later in life, so they run the risk of swallowing some mouthwash.

NIGHT-TIME brushing and flossing is super duper important because if you don’t brush away all the food particles from a day of eating it will turn into bacteria which will then lead to tooth decay and cavities. Fun fact: bacteria never sleeps. Never ever.

When a child’s upper jaw is larger than their lower jaw it is known as an OVERBITE. And when the lower jaw is larger than the upper jaw it is know as an underbite. These can be caused by a number of factors including dental decay, losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, thumb sucking or just plain old genetics.. If you take your child to the dentist on a regular basis he or she will be able to spot any issues and point you in the right direction.

Dentists probably don’t even like going to the dentist but you can’t put it off forever. To help avoid raising someone with a lifelong dental PHOBIA make the experience a positive and calm one (as best you can!). Make going to the dentist a normal event, and not a frightening one.

When it comes to buying a QUALITY toothbrush and toothpaste for your little person’s teeth, what should you look for? Dentists recommend a kid-sized brush with a soft head for children over one, and for babies using a washcloth to clean teeny weeny teeth will do the trick. As for toothpaste just use water until your child is 18 months and then progress onto a low-fluoride paste. You only need to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on little teeth, and encourage your child to spit out any excess toothpaste.

Most people tend to avoid the dentist but remember, they are human too and probably get a bit lonely. Organise a REGULAR check-up every six months for not only little Suzy but yourself, and do a little community service by getting to know your local dentist.

Happy teeth are something to be proud of so SMILE lots and show them off!

We couldn’t create the A to Z of Kid’s Teeth without mentioning the TOOTH FAIRY. The idea of the Tooth fairy originated in Europe many moons ago and is still popular today. When a child loses one of their baby teeth they should place it under their pillow and at night when they are sleeping, the Tooth fairy will quietly sneak in and replace it with a coin. There are so many cool Tooth fairy accessories these days but we absolutely love these Toothfairy pillows.

Children USUALLY have all of their teeth by the time they turn three – 20 little chompers in total.

This VERY helpful teething chart will help you keep track of your child’s baby teeth and when to expect them.

When it comes to dental problems in little teeth WHAT should you look out for? Unless you’ve spent years and years and years at dental school, spotting potential issues in your child’s mouth might be a bit tricky. However, some warning signs include a dull white band on the tooth along the gum line, brown spots on teeth, blackened areas and red and swollen gums.

When should you take your child for their first dental eXAMINATION? Most dentists recommend from the age of two for a quick check-up and dietary advice. However, if you happen to have an appointment for yourself before you little pumpkin turns two take him along to see what all the fuss is about and show him the dentist is not something to be feared. Plus, he might even get to have a ride on that cool chair!

A good way to create positive teeth is to brush YOUR teeth while your mini-me brushes their teeth. In fact make it a family affair and get everyone brushing at the same time. Need a super-catchy family brushing theme song? Your wish is our command!

We’ve all done it, sent our kid off to get some ZZZZZZZ’s with a bottle of milk but dentists say this is a big no-no. Surprisingly milk contains sugar and will cancel out all the good pre-bed brushing!

*The A to Z of Kids Teeth was written with some help from the super-friendly dentists at V Care Dental and the Australian Dental Association.

READ MORE:
• 15 teething aids to soothe sore gums