1. 2-minute brushing, 2 times a day!
Everyone knows we should brush twice a day, but did you know that research supports a minimum duration of 2 minutes each time? The longer we brush, the more plaque we remove from more areas in the mouth, and the longer the contact time between our teeth and the fluoride toothpaste. In fact, as long as you’re using the right amount of toothpaste for your child, you can even eliminate rinsing altogether.
2. Nothing but water after bedtime brushing
When we sleep, several things happen: saliva production in our mouths decreases, we stop moving our lips and tongue around, and we don’t swallow as much. If we eat or drink anything before bedtime, the risks of developing gingivitis, tooth decay, and bad breath increase since the food or drink particles stick around for a long time. Inculcate this habit right from the start so your little ones would never go to bed without their teeth first feeling squeaky-clean!
3. Chew, chew, chew, swallow!
The longer food stays in your mouth, the more time the bacteria has to start feasting on food particles and producing cavity-causing acid. We often see greater incidence of cavities in children who pouch or pocket their food in their cheeks. Try to remove any distractions (like iPads!) during mealtimes so your child stays focused!
4. Healthy diet for a healthy mouth and a healthy body
Who doesn’t love an occasional sweet treat? But for your childrens’ oral and overall health, don’t make things like candy, chocolate, pastries, biscuits, and cake a regular part of their daily meals or snacktimes. Not only are they cavity causing, these empty calories don’t provide useful building blocks for their growing bodies. Instead, pick a favourite day of the week or certain special occasions to allow small indulgences!
5. Fun at the dental clinic
When should your child see a dentist? We recommend bringing your little ones for their first dental visits no later than one year of age. You don’t want your children to think of the dental office as a place they have no choice but to go to when they have a toothache or a cavity to fix. Establish a dental home early so that we can work on preventing disease and building your child’s confidence in the clinic – dental visits can be fun, comfortable, and stress-free.
Dr Pauline Lee is a Singapore and Canadian trained dentist with a special interest in children’s dental health. Please call 6733 9882