I’m bringing you the answers to all your child-related oral habits after sitting down with a Colgate-Palmolive Oral Hygienist, and my mind is blown! There is so much that I didn’t know, other than the importance of good oral habits.
I’ve just gone full circle with my eldest, Oli, he’s lost two milk teeth and has two permanent teeth already, at the age of 6. When he pulled out his first tooth as it hung on a thread, he was five. I wasn’t there – he was at school at the time – but I was told there was much theatrics at the sign of ‘all the blood’ (minimal blood in reality) but he eventually wiped his tears when he was reminded by a teacher that now he’d be getting a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Cue the excitement! I wasn’t ready at all. I had some notion of kids only losing their first teeth in Grade 1. How much do you give a child for a tooth? Do you throw the thing away after covertly swopping the prized tooth for cash? I keep reminding him about the importance of looking after those brand new permanent teeth as he’s going to have them in his mouth for the rest of his life.
Here are the answers to your questions!
I see children as young as 7/8 with braces – is this the norm? Braces are either there for functional or aesthetic reasons. Between 6 – 8 your front permanent teeth will be in the mouth, as well as your pre-molars – between this time it is advisable to visit an orthodontist as they can take a full set of x-rays, check your bite etc. for alignment. It is more common between 8 – 10 years.
When should a child have their first dental check-up – at one? When their first teeth come through – this seems unnecessary? It might seem unnecessary but it is recommended to visit the dentist after the eruption of the first tooth. The sooner you go, the better.
My daughter, 3, has four rotting teeth in the front (rotting from behind) – do these need to be extracted? An urgent dental visit is most definitely required to properly determine whether extraction is necessary. We need our primary teeth- they are a space maintainer and help with your speech. X-rays will be taken to see if the rotting has gone to the pulp. Keep up regular dental check-ups.
My son is 14 months and he wants brush his own teeth. When I apply the toothpaste he just bites on the brush and eats the toothpaste (organic, fluoride free). When must I start forcing to brush his teeth? You have to brush your kid’s teeth until the age of 10 years (brush and supervise), brushing is absolutely necessary twice a day.
My son of 6 years has two skew bottom teeth, should I worry or will they straighten themselves out? Give them time to adjust, the tongue is also wonderful at forcing the teeth to correct themselves, keep an eye on them and the rest of the teeth erupting.
What is the normal age to lose your milk teeth? My daughter lost her first at 5 and people say it’s too young. She is 6 now and has lost 6 so far with more loose – is this normal? This is normal, yes. There is an eruption chart but this is only a guideline. With regular dental visits your dentist will be able to advise you what is normal or abnormal per patient. It is more common in girls to lose teeth at an earlier age.
Is an electric toothbrush better than a normal toothbrush, and from what age can you start using an electric toothbrush on a child? It is a personal choice. The Colgate Power Brushes are cute and are great for younger children to get them motivated to keep the tooth brush in their mouth a little longer (the one brush talks to you in a Minion voice!). Electric tooth brushes are also a lot more expensive. Have your dentist or oral hygienist show you how to use an electric toothbrush correctly as you could cause damage if not used correctly.
My son has had two loose front teeth for 10 months – should he wiggle them or just wait for them to naturally fall out? Let them fall out naturally, when the tooth is hanging on by a thread, simply twist it and it should break the collagen fibres. Never force baby teeth to come out.
My son has had two big teeth grow in behind his baby teeth instead of from under – will this happen with all his teeth going now? This is very normal, especially for the bottom teeth. It’s called ‘shark’s teeth’, and you can visit your dentist with the arrival of permanent teeth to take x-rays to see where the teeth are.
For what length of time should a child brush their teeth? Two minutes! Try get an egg timer or an hourglass for them to get used to the length of time, keep it fun. Let the kids brush in front of the mirror to ensure correct brushing technique.
How often should we change our children’s tooth brushes? If your child is still young, and chewing their brush, you will probably need to replace it every month – otherwise every three months for kids and six months for adults.
Should a child brush their teeth first thing in the morning or wait until after breakfast? It depends what the diet contains – if the breakfast is very acidic – apples, pineapple etc. it is advisable to brush before breakfast. If the breakfast meal is something like toast, cereal or porridge, it is advisable to brush after breakfast.
Should children use a mouth wash? After the age of 6, mouth wash is allowed, but it is not advised to do this every day, and only as long as they know how to spit the mouth wash out (some of the mouth washes on the market, other than Colgate’s, contain alcohol). If you have orthodontics, it is advisable to use a mouth wash regularly.
If a child has brittle milk teeth (not due to poor oral hygiene habits), is it a sign that their permanent teeth might be the same or is there no connection? There is no connection. The enamel on primary teeth is a lot thinner than that of your permanent teeth. It is advisable to visit your dentist to ensure good oral hygiene once the permanent teeth are in and fissure sealants are recommended for the permanent molars as a good preventative measure.
Did you know there’s a correct way to brush your teeth as recommended by Colgate-Palmolive South Africa?
- For effective oral cleaning, use a soft toothbrush with slim, tapered bristles.
- Hold the toothbrush horizontally against the teeth, with bristles part-way on the gums.
- Tilt the brush at a 450 degree angle, so bristles are pointing under the gum line.
- Brush in small circles, focusing on the areas between the gum edge and tooth to gently remove plaque.
- Roll or flick brush so bristles move toward the biting edge of the tooth.
- Finally brush your tongue gently from back to front (this is the part that always has me gagging)
- Rinse with water to complete the procedure
Colgate believes that “everyone deserves a future they can smile about”. Now, you have the chance to help children achieve a healthy smile, simply by purchasing a toothbrush at Dis-Chem. In partnership with the Dis-Chem Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive South Africa is running a corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative called “Buy A Brush, Help A Child”, as part of Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures programme. For every toothbrush bought at a participating Dis-Chem pharmacy, a toothbrush, toothpaste and access to oral care education will be given to a child in need. What more of a reason do you need to head over to Dis-Chem and add a Colgate tooth brush to your shopping basket and give a child in need the same oral hygiene education that you provide your own children with.
Mommalikeme is going to be giving away a hamper valued at R400 brimming with Colgate-Palmolive products to one lucky reader. To enter, all you need to do is comment on this blog where you need to buy a tooth brush to #buyabrushhelpachild and #keepSAsmiling and for an extra entry comment on the Mommalikeme Instagram or Facebook posts telling me the biggest challenge you face with your child’s oral hygiene habits. The winner will be announced on the Mommalikeme Facebook page on Thursday 18 October 2018 – T’s & C’s apply – *hamper contents may differ slightly from the picture below.