It's extremely important to look after your child's oral hygiene during their formative years as any problems that are allowed to develop at a young age can cause real damage down the line. Unfortunately, there are a few common mistakes parents make when looking after their child's teeth. Below are three of the more common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Letting Them Brush Their Own Teeth

As a parent, it's understandable that you want to give your kids as much autonomy as possible to help them develop. Allowing them to brush their own teeth sounds like a fair enough deal, you help your child learn to look after themselves and you don't have to rush around after them in the morning! However, this can actually lead to dental problems early in a child's development as they may not have the motor skills or concentration to ensure they really look after their teeth.

Therefore, you should supervise your child while brushing teeth until they have learned the proper care and attention necessary to look after themselves. There is no hard and fast rule as to when a child is capable of brushing their teeth alone; some children may develop quickly and others may lag behind in the oral health department. Rather than aiming for a target age, make sure you make a sound judgement on how your child is developing to determine when they are ready to brush their teeth without supervision.

When you are supervising your child, make sure you reinforce proper oral hygiene precautions and ensure that they know how to inspect their teeth for any problems. You can do this by giving them a routine to follow and ensuring they do what's required of them. Remember to inspect your child's teeth after brushing, and make sure you check the gums and the inside of their cheeks for any signs of infection.

Scheduling Dental Appointments Too Late

When your child starts to feel toothache or develops a mouth infection, it's usually the result of an underlying condition that has started to worsen with time. Many parents make the mistake of scheduling a dental appointment once their child complains about pain or discomfort, but often these symptoms can be completely avoid by making dental appointments every few months.

Particularly if your child is going through a period of losing their baby teeth, it's vitally important that any dental conditions are picked up and managed before symptoms start to develop. This will ensure that your child doesn't experience any uncomfortable toothache and gives their dentist the chance to assess how their oral hygiene is progressing. Regular appointments also give dentists the chance to:

  • Assess your child's brushing procedures and make recommendations on how to improve their oral hygiene.
  • Catch the early signs of tooth decay to avoid the formation of cavities.
  • Check your child's progress against where they should be in their oral development.
  • Treat your child's teeth with fluoride and sealants to help strengthen their smile.

Making sure your child has a regular dental appointment will help them down the line also. When they grow up, they will understand the importance of visiting the dentist, which can help prevent a future need for corrective procedures or surgeries.

Replacing Soda With Sports Drinks

If your child plays sports or lives an otherwise active lifestyle, you may be guilty of giving them energy and sports drinks to keep them going. Many parents see no problem with this and believe that these drinks are a better alternative to sugary drinks such as soda. However, recent studies have shown that these sports drinks can be just as bad for your child's teeth.

Sports drinks damage the enamel of the teeth, leaving them exposed and susceptible to decay. The removal of enamel from the cap of the teeth can also expose the nerve ending around that area, making your child's teeth extremely sensitive while eating.

Rather than giving your child sports drinks, give them water to keep them going. Not only will this do wonders for their teeth, but it will also do a better job of replacing the fluids lost during exercise. If your child finds water a bit boring, you can add some flavor by leaving a few lemon and lime slices in a jar of water overnight.