Top Tips to Give Children a Smiling Start

Keeping your children's smiles bright doesn't have to be a battle with these top tips from a health visitor.

As part of National Smile Month (May 16 until June 16) Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust is promoting good oral health top tips to keep your children's smiles bright. 

Keeping children's teeth clean and healthy is so important and starting early is crucial.

Sylvia Wilkinson Health Visitor and Community Practice Educator at LCHS said: "From the age of six months onwards, baby teeth will start to appear and all 20 will usually be in place by the time your child is three.

"Good habits for keeping those little teeth decay-free need to start as soon as the first tooth erupts. These baby teeth are so important to help with eating, speaking and guiding adult teeth into the right place. At around six years of age, baby teeth will start to be replaced with adult ones."

As soon as a baby's teeth appear, you can brush them.

- Use a small soft toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste
- Adult toothpaste is recommended, you do not need to use children's toothpaste
- Gently brush the outside, inside and biting surface of all teeth
- Brush morning and night
- Increase the amount  of toothpaste to a pea size from the age of three
- Change the toothbrush every three months
- Never share toothbrushes
- Encourage children to spit out the excess toothpaste but not to rinse with lots of water
- It needs to be 'Brush, spit and stop'
- Rinsing with water after tooth brushing will wash away the fluoride which helps to protect teeth
- If brushing does become a battle, try using a mirror so they can see where they are brushing, brushing teeth when they are in the bath, or using two toothbrushes (one to brush with and one to chew)
- Timers for brushing can also help as can songs or even downloading a brushing app.

Top tips for keeping sugar to a minimum to protect teeth:

- Encourage tooth friendly low sugar snacks like fresh fruits, vegetables and cubes of cheese
- Ask your doctor to prescribe sugar free medication where possible and use sugar free paracetamol and teething gels
- Make sure your child has regular dental check-ups to keep their teeth and mouth healthy
- Never give your child sugary foods or drinks before bedtime
- Never giver your baby a dummy dipped in sugary foods such as honey, jam or juice. 

For more tips or further information on oral health please visit our new Healthy Smiles website: www.lincolnshirehealthyfamilies.nhs.uk/healthysmiles