We love the bright smiles of young children! But how do we look after those pearly white teeth of our toddlers in Dubai? Forming healthy oral hygiene habits from a young age is extremely important. Consistency is key when it comes to healthy teeth and bright smiles. Teaching our children and giving them the tools to look after their teeth is invaluable as they are more likely to maintain these healthy habits throughout their childhood and into adulthood. In this blog, we outline a few important factors, guidelines and top tips to make oral health care for young children healthy, fun and simple to implement.
1. Dental Appointments for Babies and Toddlers in Dubai
Tooth decay is highly prevalent amongst young children; affecting 23% of 5-year olds in the UK have had tooth decay. The pain and discomfort associated with this impacts negatively on children’s sleep, play and ability to eat. This will also impact on their learning, development and overall wellbeing. Fortunately, tooth decay is largely preventable when the right steps are taken. Regular dental appointments are vital; babies should begin going to the dentist as soon as their first tooth comes through and should visit the dentist at least one every six months thereafter.
2. Reduce Sugar
Reducing the amount of sugar consumed by children is one of the most important steps in preventing tooth decay and maintaining healthy teeth. When we consume sugar it interacts with plaque bacteria to produce acid which causes tooth decay. Avoiding foods that are high in added sugars, particularly between meals, is highly recommended. At EBN we run a “healthy lunch box challenge,” where parents are given ideas and suggestions of how to make healthy food more fun and interesting for children; for example, making faces using fruit. Check out our blog about healthy lunchbox ideas for some inspiration!
3. Make it Fun
Through stories, role playing (dentist/patient), songs, arts and craft, we aim to make learning about oral hygiene fun for children at EBN, so that they can develop and maintain lifelong healthy oral hygiene habits from a young age. By discussing the different impacts that some foods have on our teeth, children gradually learn about what is good for their teeth and what isn’t.
We encourage our children to speak about their experiences when visiting the dentist, which is also great for their listening skills, understanding skills and speaking skills. Using a dynamic jaw model, allows our children to view teeth and discuss the impacts unhealthy foods will have on their oral hygiene.
4. Brushing Teeth with Toddlers
We also use this jaw model to allow children to practise their brushing technique by cleaning this structure with a real toothbrush. As with dental appointments, as soon as your child has a tooth, they should be brushing their teeth (or tooth) three times daily – morning, bedtime and between meals. Children should brush their teeth for at least two minutes after applying a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
The toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months or sooner if the brush bristles have significant signs of wear. Children can begin practising doing this from around the age of 3, but will require adult support to get the job done correctly. As they become more confident they can begin to do this independently. This usually occurs between the ages of 5 and 6, depending on their individual manual dexterity and ability to do it effectively.
5. Prevention is Key
Starting off on the right foot is vital when it comes to oral hygiene. Preventable problems like tooth decay are not only painful and uncomfortable for children but they may cause future dental issues. Involve your child and give them as much ownership as possible in these healthy preventative practices. Supervision is very important initially but as your child grows they will be able to do this independently and will be much more likely to be consistent with the healthy oral habits they have learned.
Top Tips to look after your baby’s teeth:
In this article the NHS in the UK share their advice on how to look after your young children’s teeth and we have provided a helpful summary below from the teachers at our nurseries here in Dubai:
- You can offer babies drinks in a non-valved free-flowing cup from 6 months old.
- Water and milk are tooth friendly drinks. Using bottles for juices or sugary drinks can increase tooth decay.
- Smoothies that are freshly prepared shouldn’t be given more than once a day (high natural sugar concentration)
- Dried fruit can increase the risk of tooth decay
- Allow children to eat crunchy fruits and vegetables (whilst being mindful of any possible choking hazards)
- Implement strict rules on tooth brushing… but make it fun!
- Ask for sugar-free medicine wherever possible
Ensuring that our children are healthy and happy is our number one priority at Emirates British Nursery; our excellent team of teachers encourage and implement consistent oral health routines from the beginning of each child’s nursery journey.