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A year on year guide to your child's dental health - Pre-schoolers

With so much information out there, it can be hard to know exactly what it best for your children – especially when it comes to their oral health! Your child’s mouth changes dramatically in their first 5 years, and there are lots you can do to ensure their teeth get the best start in life.

We’ve broken it down for you to make things easier; we’ve taken a look at babies and toddlers, and now we’re taking a look at pre-schoolers…

Pre-schoolers 3 to 5 years

As your child hits preschool age, it's normal for them to rebel a little against certain routines such as brushing their teeth. One of the easiest ways to get your child back into brushing is to make it more fun. Using a toothbrush with their favourite cartoon character on will certainly help, and even switching to an electric toothbrush can be enough to get them interested again!

Top tips

  • Why not try a timed toothbrush if 2 minutes is proving too long. A tooth brushing chart will also help motivate them, with stickers as rewards for every time they brush for the full two minutes.
  • Flossing removes food and plaque between teeth and is an important part of dental hygiene. Once the spaces between your child's teeth have narrowed they should start to use it – usually by the time they're four years' old.
  • Thumb sucking is another common preschooler behaviour, but it's important to try and discourage it. Thumb sucking puts pressure on your child's teeth and can affect the alignment of their teeth. The best tactic to curb this habit is to speak to your child about it, and explain why they shouldn't continue to do it
  • Children between three and six years old should brush at least twice daily with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing more than 1000ppm fluoride

The lowdown on toothache

If your child is suffering from toothache, firstly check the area your child is telling you hurts for pieces of food trapped between teeth. Dental floss should remove any you do find.

Toothache can be very painful and upsetting, so trying to relieve the symptoms is important. Rinsing their mouth out with warm water and a little salt will clean their mouth, and any swelling in their face should be treated with an ice pack. Over the counter painkillers can also help, but remember than some medicines contain a lot of sugar which can harm your child’s teeth so always opt for a sugar free medicine. Remember to follow the instructions carefully and never give a product containing Aspirin to a child under 16-years-old.

If the pain lasts longer than two hours you should take your child to the dentist or a doctor. Even if the pain subsides, it's important your child is checked over by a professional.

Fluoride protection

Your child has 50% less enamel than you do, so they're at much higher risk of damage occurring to the enamel. When this damage occurs, a hole or ‘cavity' is left in the tooth. A fluoride varnish treatment is a great way to protect against cavities and prevent further tooth decay.

Fluoride varnish strengthens children’s tooth enamel, making them more resistant to tooth decay in the long run – almost like giving them a super powered protective cloak! It’s a quick and painless preventative treatment whereby fluoride varnish is applied to your children’s teeth by a dentist or a nurse. The process involved painting a fluoride-based varnish onto the surface of the tooth. It’s recommended that children aged three and over should be given a fluoride varnish application at least twice a year.

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