Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with an Oral Hygienist from Colgate-Palmolive and we spoke about all things related to Oral Health, not only ourselves, but in our children as well. I have a life long fear of the dentist (don’t tell my kids), and I’m determined to pass on positive oral hygiene habits. Having a sister in law as a Dentist adds to the pressure 🙂
As parents I think we all face the same struggles getting our toddlers to brush their teeth. My eldest has always been easy going and has pretty much mimicked mum and dad, down to the gargling and all. My youngest on the other hand, had to literally be pinned down whilst screaming just so I could get in and do a quick sweep of his mouth. I certainly didn’t encourage this, I’ve always “given” my boys the toothbrush and let them learn through experimenting. My youngest however always just bit the brush and then threw it down, with his affiliation to anything sweet I knew I had to do more. Thankfully that period of persistence has paid off and now he confidentially brushes his teeth with mummy doing a “once over” afterward.
On our first few trips to the dentist we took a teddy with to make it a more positive experience. The dentist first did a once over of “teddy’s” teeth, before moving onto the boys. This in itself created a fun, positive experience.
I asked if you had any questions related to Oral Hygiene in your kids and I have your answers, and then some! Have a read to see some of the most common problems we all struggle with as parents:
– I sometimes have to literally hold my two year old down screaming while i brush their teeth, is this normal? Should I continue to force him until he gets used to it, or should i adopt a more gentle approach?
The best way to teach a child to brush is through mimicking their parents. That being said up until the age of about 10 years old, children should be supervised by their parents when brushing, to ensure an effective brush. Sometimes children do need a “little forcing”, its not something that should ever be done in a rough way, but its essential their teeth are clean. Routine keeps kids safe so starting that routine of morning and night time brushing as soon as possible is important.One of the best things to do with your children is to let them brush their teeth in front of a mirror, so they can watch themselves brushing.
– What age should you let your child start brushing their own teeth?
You should start brushing your child’s teeth from the time the first tooth erupts. In babies you can wipe their gums with a damp face cloth. Its recommended that parents brush their child’s teeth until about 9 or 10 years old.
– Can drinking cows milk before sleeping (after brushing teeth) cause erosion?
No. Simply drinking from a bottle cannot cause teeth decay, however, it’s the length in time you let a child suck on that bottle that can cause milk caries. Sometimes referred to “early childhood caries”, a common problem among children under the age of five, but can be avoided through awareness and prevention. White spots on a tooth’s surface are early symptoms of baby bottle tooth decay. At this stage, fluoride treatment or placing fluoride varnish can be used to remineralize all of the teeth.
– What is the recommended age for a child’s first trip to the dentist?
From the time the first tooth erupts. The sooner you go the better. Even if it Is just to familiarize them with the environment. Remember a Dentist’s office is very clinical. There are scary looking instruments, masks and gloves, so taking a child from as young as possible just to eliminate fear is often a good place to start.
– Ive heard children are starting to loose their first teeth earlier? previously I thought it was 6 and 7 but now I hear children as young as 5 are, is this normal?
Yes perfectly normal. There is a broad spectrum and depending on genetics and care, children between the ages of 5 and 7 can loose their teeth. There is an eruption chart but this is only a guideline.
– At what age do children start using a normal fluoride toothpaste? Should it be when big teeth come through?
Children can use an “adult” amount of fluoride toothpaste from the age of about 6. The Colgate toothpaste for 6 years + actually contains the same amount of fluoride in it as adults toothpaste, its just the flavor that differs. You should always use an age appropriate toothpaste for your children as higher amounts of fluoride in the toothpaste can damage younger teeth. Colgate’s toothpaste are all designed to cater for the age groups with the appropriate amount of fluoride in them.
– Is there a proven correlation between strong teeth and calcium intake in children? Should I be making sure my kids drink full cream milk/ yoghurts?
Genetics has a strong role to play in overall teeth and bone health. We should always encourage a healthy diet in our children
– How long should we brush our teeth for?
Two minutes is the ideal amount of time. You can use a little sand timer to show your children the length of time, or some of the more expensive tooth brushes also play songs or have a light.
– What age can a child use mouth wash?
Mouth wash is not recommended until 6 years of ages. All of Colgate’s mouth washes are alcohol free. For children between 6 and about 10 its not advisable to use a mouth wash daily, rather twice a week.
So what is the “correct way” to brush your teeth?
Yes, ill admit it, I’m a bit of a “scrubber” when it comes to my teeth, but there is a recommended way that we should be brushing:
For effective oral cleaning, its always best to use a soft toothbrush (not medium or hard as this can cause gum erosion) . Hold the toothbrush horizontally against the teeth, with the brush halfway between your tooth and your gums. Brush in small circles, focusing on the areas between the gum edge and tooth to gently remove plaque. When it comes to the surface of your molars, there it is effective to ‘scrub” back and forth. Always remember to brush your tongue from back to front and to rinse with water well afterward.
Buy a brush, help a child:
Colgate is also running an incredible CSR initiave. Everyone deserves a future to smile about, and now you can help too! In partnership with the Dis-Chem Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive South Africa is running the“Buy A Brush, Help A Child” campaign. For every toothbrush bought at a participating Dis-Chem pharmacy, a toothbrush, toothpaste and access to oral care education will be given to a child in need. With the help of Dischem, the aim to is reach 1.7 Million Children. So if you need to stock up on new toothbrushes, head on over to Dischem and purchase a Colgate toothbrush to help a child in need.
Ill be giving away a hamper from Colgate-Palmolive valued at R400 to one reader. The hamper is packed full of Colgate products for your whole family, including new toothbrushes and toothpastes.
- To enter, all you need to do is comment on this blog on your biggest challenge when it comes to your child’s teeth.
- For an extra entry comment on the “In these Stilettos” Instagram or Facebook posts.
- The winner will be announced on the In these Stilettos Facebook page (so please make sure you have liked and are following the page) on Friday 19 October 2018 – T’s & C’s apply – *hamper contents may differ slightly from the picture below.