Creating a good oral health routine for your primary school children is very important. Here we discuss our top 7 dental health tips for primary school children, helping you to ensure they develop beautiful, healthy smiles.
1. Use standard fluoride toothpaste for children aged 6 and above
From 6 years old, your child can use a small pea-size amount of toothpaste when brushing their teeth (unless otherwise advised by an oral health professional). It’s important they don’t swallow the toothpaste, opting to spit it out instead.
It’s also advised that they don’t rinse their mouths with water. This will ensure they keep a small amount of fluoride in their mouth which helps to protect their teeth.
2. Brush their teeth and along the gum line twice a day
Brushing teeth, after breakfast and before bed, will remove plaque that causes tooth decay. Choose a toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles that is designed for children.
Gently brush all surfaces of their teeth and along the gum line, using small circles. Children will need an adult to help them brush their teeth until they’re 7 to 8 years old.
3. Water is the best drink for primary school children
Primary school children should drink tap water throughout the day. As Shepparton’s tap water supply has fluoride in it, this will help protect their teeth from decay. Remember that shop-bought bottled water usually does not have fluoride in it.
4. Primary school children don’t need fruit juice or other sweet drinks
Fruit juice and sweet drinks can increase the risk of tooth decay. Important to note, fruit juice with ‘no added sugar’ still contains natural sugar, which can also cause tooth decay. Also, diet soft drinks contain acids which can also damage teeth.
Sweet drinks that should be avoided include soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks, cordial, tea drinks, fruit drinks and energy drinks.
A better alternative to fruit juice and sweet drinks is fresh fruit. It provides the same nutrients plus fibre and is more filling than juice.
5. Limit sugary foods
Another important dental health tip for children is to limit foods that are high in added sugars, as these are a cause of tooth decay. Try to avoid sugary foods and snacks in your child’s lunchbox. Foods that are high in sugar may include jams, lollies, biscuits, cakes, sweet muffins, doughnuts, slices, sweet pastries, chocolate and muesli bars.
6. Healthy meals and snacks are important for healthy teeth
Enjoy a wide variety of healthy foods from the five food groups every day. Fruits and vegetables deliver important nutrients and vitamins to our bodies. While milk, yoghurt and cheese (and some dairy alternatives) are excellent sources of calcium, which is good for teeth. It’s recommended that you choose dairy products without added sugar and try to avoid common foods and snacks that contain sugar.
7. Wear a mouthguard during contact sports or activities where there’s a risk of injury to the face
Custom-fitted mouthguards will offer your child the best protection and comfort. Ensure that you take their mouthguard to the dentist on your regular visits to they can check that it still fits well. A mouthguard will need to be replaced as the mouth changes, for example, when permanent teeth come through.