TEN TOP TIPS FOR SCHOOL STARTERS
1. For consistent cleaning, children should brush their teeth and gums at the same time every day. The first brushing should take place after breakfast and children should rinse their mouths with an alcohol free mouthwash. The second daily brushing should be just before bed, with no more snacks after this.
2. Only use the recommended amount of toothpaste and ensure all teeth and gums are cleaned thoroughly. Toothpaste should not be swallowed. You can use different sized inter-dental brushes to clean plaque from inaccessible areas.
3. We recommend that parents brush their children’s teeth or help them brush their teeth until they are about six. They need to monitor their brushing until they are about ten. Toothbrushes should be changed every three months.
4. Ensure children eat a healthy diet and reduce their intake of high sugar content foods. What goes into your child’s packed lunch can be very important as they will not have a chance to clean their teeth until they get home from school. Keep snacks between meals to low-sugar or sugar-free foods such as cheese, fruit and nuts.
5. What your child drinks can have just as much effect on their teeth as what they eat. Milk and water are suitable drinks to quench their thirst. Beware of high energy sports drinks as they have a very high sugar content.
6. Children should have visited the dentist before they are 3. If they haven’t been, it’s easy to arrange an appointment.
7. Ensure their visit is a positive one. Children will often take their cue from parents when visiting the dentist. If older brothers and sisters are going to the dentist, bring their younger siblings along so they can see what’s going on, get to know the surroundings and maybe even get a go in the chair.
8. Children’s teeth should be checked 3 times by the public health dentist during primary school. Ensure this is happening.
9. Children at high risk of decay may benefit from fissure sealants on back molar teeth as they come through,normally at about 6 and then again at 12 years of age
10. If contact sports such as football, rugby, hockey or hurling are being played at the school ensure that your child has a mouthguard.