Getting a child interested in dental care is not the tricky part. As all parents understand, children soon come to realise that the really cool ‘game’ is actually just edutainment designed to hook, and then sign them up, to one more of life’s boring chores. So what then? Well firstly, remain high-profile about looking after your own teeth and hope they follow suit; and secondly, browse through the rest of this article for some further tips.
iBrush My Teeth
Yes, there are dental care apps for children. In fact, there are dozens. Many are free or low-cost and most toothpaste/oral hygiene companies have their own branded versions. The following may give a flavour of what is on offer:
• Kids Dental Health – is a colourful interactive ‘choose a character’ story book with secret sounds and a ‘read to me’ function. This is a fun introduction to the techniques and basics of oral hygiene.
• The Tiny Dentist (ages 3+) – interactive, features include: endless patients needing dental treatment; extract decayed teeth; fit braces; brush teeth etc.
• Aquafresh Time2Brush – one of many useful two-minute musical brush timers. There is a club and points can be earned for each brushing.
• Brush DJ – This is NHS-approved and aimed at older children. The app allows installed iPhone music to be chosen and accessed for a two-minute DJ brushing session. Set your own brushing reminders and cast your vote online for the Brush DJ music chart.
A Toothbrush for Children
The best toothbrush is always the one which will get used regularly. There are a host of choices including different colours, classic and cartoon characters, musical toothbrushes and built-in timers. As well as traditional manual toothbrushes there are also electric and disposable options. Current research suggests there is little to choose between proper manual and electric brushing unless other factors must be considered, such as limited mobility.
To select a good quality children’s toothbrush, consider these points:
• Look for an ADA Seal of Approval.
• Choose one with soft bristles which will fit easily in the child’s hand.
• Allow older children to help pick out their own toothbrush. They will be keen to try it out.
Begin the fun early using a soft brush on baby’s gums in the bath to associate washing and teeth-brushing routines. About six months old, when the first milk tooth appears, introduce brushing with fluoride toothpaste to help protect against tooth decay. The correct fluoride content of toothpaste varies with the age of the child so please read the packet carefully, or check with your dentist. Establish teeth brushing for two minutes every day, always before bedtime and one other regular time. Any surplus toothpaste should be spat out without using too much rinsing water.
With supervision, ages seven and above should manage their own brushing. Be ready to guide and correct as necessary, introducing the use of a mirror to aid effective brushing. Use a timer and let them enjoy the routine but, for obvious reasons, don’t allow running around with a toothbrush poking from the mouth.
Similarly, visits to the dentist should start early. As a parent, if you are really upbeat about these trips your child will accept dental care as a comfortable and commonplace extension of established home routines.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/images/results.aspx?qu=child%20brushing&ex=2#ai:MC900440556|
Dr Phillip Davies is a cosmetic dentist offering cosmetic dentistry in Harley Street, London. He enjoys helping people develop good dental habits and is one of the leading cosmetic dentists in the country.
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