Did you know that problems with your child’s mouth, teeth and gums can affect the rest of their body and even their health and wellbeing into adulthood? Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. If left untreated, tooth decay and untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that have a serious impact on your child’s health including problems eating, speaking, playing and learning.
Other conditions can be linked to oral health. The mouth is often an entry point for infections, which can spread to other parts of the body. Research indicates there are associations between chronic oral infections and health risks such as heart and lung diseases and stroke.
How to protect your child’s oral health
You can protect your child’s oral health by practicing good hygiene daily. This includes:
- Wiping your child’s gums after feeding and brushing new teeth with non-fluoride toothpaste (under 2 years of age)
- Brushing their teeth at least twice a day with a soft bristled toothbrush using fluoridated toothpaste (for children older than 2)
- Flossing daily once teeth begin to touch (remember to check your child’s back teeth, they are more likely to touch than their front teeth)
- Eating a healthy diet and limiting food with added sugars
- Replacing their toothbrush every three months or sooner if bristles are splayed or worn out
- Scheduling regular dental checkups and cleaning.