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Dental Health Advice for Primary school children (5-12 years)

Maintaining dental care to prevent tooth decay is vital to your child’s overall health. Good oral hygiene starts with teaching your child a daily teeth-cleaning routine to keep teeth and gums healthy. The best times to brush teeth are first thing in the morning after breakfast and right before bed, as after meals is when the plaques bacteria will start to produce acid. If the acid stays too long in the mouth, it will start to eat away the hard shell of the tooth and cause tooth decay.

Around the age of six, most children will start losing their primary teeth and have a mixture of adult and baby teeth until the age of 12. Losing teeth can be an exciting but anxious time, and your child might find it difficult to chew. Still, it is important to brush the teeth morning and night but take extra care around loose teeth, as the area around it can be quite sensitive.

Brush teeth and gum line to remove plaque by using a toothbrush that is the right size for your child’s mouth and has soft rounded bristles. Toothbrushes should be renewed at least every three or four months since bent or worn bristles will do a poor job and may hurt your child’s gums. It is recommended to use a pea-sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste until the age of six, once the child is older you may use regular fluoride toothpaste.

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Fluoride is a mineral that helps build strong teeth and prevent tooth decay and is also added in most tap waters in Australia. Thus making tap water the main drink throughout the day is safe and caries preventive. Until the age of eight, your child will need supervision and help for the cleaning process.
But brushing teeth alone is not the only guarantee against tooth decay as a healthy diet is just as important for your child.

A balanced diet with fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products like yoghurt and cheese for the extra calcium intake should be introduced as soon as your child starts eating solids. Fruit juices, soft drinks and plenty of sugary foods will increase the danger of caries. Therefore sweets should only be given as a treat and not be put in your child’s lunchbox. Encouraging your child to rinse his mouth with water after meals and snacks will help to wash away leftover food and sugars.

Early stages of tooth decay can be treated, and it is advised that your child should have seen an oral health professional by the time she goes to school. At this appointment, the professional will usually schedule the following checkups, which can be every three months to once a year depending on the condition of your child’s teeth.

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