It’s Time to Brush! How To Take Care of Your Child’s Teeth

It's time to brush! All You Need to Know About Taking Care of Your Children's Teeth

This post is sponsored by Colgate.

With Halloween, end of school year parties and Christmas just around the corner, this time of year can feel like heaven for kids who love sweet treats and sugary drinks, and while the majority of parents I know are pretty mindful when it comes to their kids and these ‘sometimes’ foods, ongoing holiday celebrations certainly make our job that bit harder!

It is however worth our due diligence. Tooth decay is now Australia’s most common health problem (as reported by the Australian Dental Association) and amazingly – it’s almost entirely preventable.

Sugary foods and drinks are a major cause of cavities and Colgate’s recent research reveals that 50 per cent of Australian kids aged 6-14 have trick or treated at least once in their lives and that Australian parents are expected to spend $22 million on sugary treats this year.

So when I was presented with the opportunity to ask Dr Sue, one of Colgate’s qualified in-house dentists for more information about this issue, I jumped at the chance to better understand what we can do about it. Here are Dr Sue’s responses to my questions;

How does a child’s diet impact upon their dental health?
In simple terms sugar feeds bacteria, which produce acid which dissolves tooth minerals. Therefore sugary foods need to be carefully monitored in children’s diets. Constant snacking and sipping on foods that contain sugars does not allow the acid levels in the mouth to return to normal and promotes tooth decay.

How/why is sugar consumption important to tooth decay?
While there are a number of factors behind tooth decay, a poor or incomplete daily oral care routine and high sugar diet are the top causes. In fact, the number one cause of tooth decay is the consumption of sugary foods and drinks on a regular basis, as they provide sugars for decay causing bacteria to thrive. That’s why brushing teeth night and day with a fluoride toothpaste, or even one with sugar acid neutralizing technology is so important to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

What are the primary ways we can help prevent tooth decay in children?
Be aware of the sugar content of foods and drinks and limit the number of sugary foods consumed in a day. It is best to consume sugary foods at mealtimes and be sure to have breaks between meals to allow the mouth to return to normal. Only put water into drink bottles at school and be sure to brush teeth with a fluoridated paste twice a day. Adults should supervise and assist children under the age of 8 years until they are able to reach and clean all the tooth surfaces in the mouth on their own.

What is the best way to teach a child to clean their own teeth?
Make brushing a game, sometimes it’s as simple as a sing along or telling a story. Another idea is to make brushing a part of the bath routine, as they will already be wet and it can make it more enjoyable. It can also be as simple as setting the example, so show children how you brush your own teeth.

It's Time to Brush! All You Need to Know About Caring for Your Child's Teeth

How often and at what time(s) of day do you recommend children brush their teeth?
Children should be brushing twice a day. Always brush after the last food/drink that’s consumed before they go to bed and at one other time in the day.

At what age should we begin using toothpaste with children?
Most children should brush without toothpaste until they are 18 months of age. From 18 months to 6 years children should use a children’s paste with 500 ppm fluoride and from 6 years they can use an adult strength paste. If your child is at high risk of tooth decay please consult your dental professional as the guidelines for these children are different. Children are at risk of early childhood tooth decay as soon as their baby teeth begin to erupt so one of the most important health lessons you can give is teaching them good daily oral care habits as well as supervising their daily oral care routine.

What is important to know about young children and toothpaste?
Toothpaste that is specifically designed for young children (under the age of 6) has a mild flavour, lower levels of fluoride and foams less than adult pastes. This allows the child to get used to using paste. Use a smear or a small pea sized amount of paste with young children and encourage them to spit out. Most children cannot spit properly until they are around 6 years old so this will take some perseverance.

It's Time to Brush! What You Need to Know About Children and Tooth Decay

For those with children aged over six years of age, adding Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection plus Sugar Acid Neutraliser to your daily oral care routine provides an additional line of defence against tooth decay. This breakthrough toothpaste helps de-activate sugar acids before they have the chance to harm teeth and it can reduce early decay by half (after six months use). Including Colgate Maximum Cavity Protection plus Sugar Acid Neutraliser as part of your daily tooth brushing routine really does make sense.

I’d love to know, how do you manage your child’s consumption of sugary foods at this time of year?

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  1. Oh I hadn’t heard of sugar acid neutraliser toothpaste before. I’ll look out for it.

  2. This is a really great overview and reminder about dental health. I’d never heard of the neutraliser toothpaste before, that sounds awesome!

  3. Sugar neutraliser? I think I might need that one too. I generally let the kids choose a piece or two of candy and then pop all the rest up out of the way “for another time.” Usually I find that out of sight means out of mind for my kids so I usually don’t have to give them the rest.. Mummy takes care of it for them. ;)

    • Awesome tips. You are right make a brushing gaming is the best way to teach a child to clean their own teeth. all are very useful tips.

      Thank you.

  4. A song always helps my little guy get brushing :)

  5. Will definitely pick some of this up when I am shopping next, thanks for the heads up Christie.

  6. Great tips! Singing a song always works for me and my little one. We’d sing his favorite nursery rhymes and replace some words with funny ones. Btw, I wonder if that Sugar Acid Neutraliser variant is available in the Middle East?

  7. Hey, Christie! I’m glad that I stumbled upon your article! I recently had a baby, so I’m trying to figure out how care for his dental health. Thanks for letting me know that toothpaste should be used after they’re 18 months old. That makes sense; it could be a choking hazard! I appreciate you writing this article!

  8. Getting children to brush on their own can be difficult, but I think that you’re right in saying that sometimes you’ve just got to be a good example. At least with my nephews, they look up to me in all sorts of ways and really want to be like me. When they see me brushing, they also want to brush! Now I’m telling my nephews that I’m going to the dentist, and they want to go too. Hopefully good dental habits will run in the family!

  9. Everybody should take care of teeth on daily basis. Especially kids, they should be careful and maintain a proper food diet, that does not effect their teeth. They should even do a regular dentist visit, this will help them to get a healthy teeth from the beginning.

  10. Pallavi Chadda says:

    This is really indeed great information, I’d never heard of the neutralizer toothpaste before..
    we should take care of our teeth especially kids because a better life starts with beautiful doesn’t mean taking care of your body keeps your teeth perfect .Do a regular dental visit every 6 months.
    Thanks for writing this article :)

  11. Hey Christie, I am so glad to Google your article about Child’s dental care. It is very important for us to take care of your kid’s teeths from childhood.

  12. Arabella says:

    sugar acid neutraliser sounds like a cool idea. Today in the market too many toothpastes are coming. Top seal toothpaste and more but this sounds a cool idea.

  13. It’s important to keep teeth health from our initial days. Children’s teeth so delicate and are easily decayed if not proper care taken. Neutralizer is the new cool idea. Thanks for sharing here. Hope more informative article on teeth i will read here.

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