Tuesday August 28th 2012. The Irish Dental Association is urging parents to emphasise the importance of good dental habits to young children, especially those who are starting school for the first time.
The President of the Association, Dr Andrew Bolas said that establishing a good routine was key to good oral health for our young people.
“Preventative dental care is important for people of all ages - particularly young people – and is the key to long term dental health’ Dr Bolas said. He urged parents to ensure children followed these tips.
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. Parents need to 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 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. Arrange preventative fissure sealants for children reaching the age of six or seven as directed by your dentist. Follow up at six or twelve months intervals.
10. If contact sports such as football, rugby, hockey or hurling are being played at the school ensure that your child has a mouthguard.
Dr Bolas said the 3 dental checks which are supposed to happen are not happening in many areas and it was very important for parents to follow this up with the local HSE dental department.
“In theory all children under 16 are entitled to receive dental health screening and preventive treatments. In all they should be examined 3 times in primary school but some children are only receiving their initial screening in sixth class” he said.
For Further Information
Contact Kieran Garry
01/6650455 or 087/2368366