Most parents love to spoil their little ones with gifts and tasty treats over the festive season, so it's probably no surprise that the holiday season is the worst time of the year for children's teeth!
As well as being more likely to knock out their teeth by spending more time outdoors, kids are also at higher risk of tooth decay and cavities when they're allowed to indulge in sweet treats. Hard confectionery and nuts can also cause their teeth to chip or crack.
Parents should be even more vigilant than usual about encouraging good oral hygiene habits over the Christmas period. If you've still got a few presents left to buy, give your children a great head start on good oral health in the New Year with these tooth-friendly gift ideas approved by dentists.
Children should start brushing their teeth as soon as their teeth start to erupt, but it can take a few years before they're ready to brush on their own. Children's toothbrushes are specially designed for smaller teeth and sensitive gums, with soft bristles, smaller brush heads and comfortable handles that are easy to grip.
Still, many parents know that some kids just don't like to brush their teeth, and they have to be monitored to make sure they're doing it properly and for the recommended amount of time (two minutes, twice a day). That's where a fun toothbrush can work wonders for encouraging your child to get into good habits.
Children's toothbrushes come in a huge variety of colours and designs to appeal to every child's taste, including novelty brushes with handles moulded into the shape of their favourite TV and movie characters. Some come in sets with a mini-hourglass that lets them know how long to brush for, while more advanced brushes play music and sound effects until the two minutes is up.
Remember that toothbrushes need to be replaced every three to four months. If you want to invest in a special toothbrush, an electric model with replaceable heads could be a more economical option. You should also make sure you're using a sugar-free children's toothpaste, which should contain less fluoride than adult toothpaste and is available in a range of tasty flavours.
Has your child started to lose their teeth? Tooth pillows are a cute addition to their bedroom that help to make the process less scary and more enjoyable. These pillows feature a pocket where your child can stash their tooth after it falls out, then check the next morning to see whether the tooth fairy came to claim it!
You can find these pillows in online stores and handmade from Etsy sellers, choosing the design that you think will appeal most to your child or even going for a personalised option with an embroidered name. If you're handy with a needle or sewing machine, there are plenty of patterns and instructions online if you'd prefer to make a DIY gift.
If your kids love to play sport – whether it's rugby, cricket, bike riding or skateboarding – make sure their teeth are protected against injuries by encouraging them to wear a sports mouthguard. For the best protection available, ask your child's dentist about custom-fit mouthguards that conform exactly to the shape of their teeth.
During their appointment, your dentist can take an impression of your child's mouth and send it to a dental laboratory where their custom mouthguard is manufactured. Your child can choose the colour and design of their mouthguard to make sure they'll be happy to wear it. Once they get used to it, they'll find it more comfortable than a regular boil-and-bite mouthguard, as well as offering superior protection for their teeth.
If you want to know more about mouthguards or you have any other questions about children's dentistry, get in touch with our team at Face Value Dental.
You can call us on (07 3221 0677 or contact us online.
Please note that we're closing for the holidays from Friday 22nd December 2017. We re-open on Monday 8th January 2018.