Early childhood is the time when most lifetime habits are established.

It offers the greatest opportunity to provide socialisation for good health and primary prevention of dental decay.

At Kids College we are in an excellent position to provide appropriate oral health information and start creating an awareness in children of how to have good oral health. Just like we are bringing children up with sunscreen, drinking water often, eating healthy food and practicing road safety.

There are important reasons for promoting dental health in young children:

  • Tooth decay is the single most chronic common childhood illness. However, it is mostly preventable through effective oral hygiene measures and a healthy diet.
  • Good dental health is an essential part of good general health and well being and is now increasingly recognised as being related to various lifestyle factors, such as poor diet/nutrition and limited exposure to fluoride.
  • The primary dentition (‘baby’ or deciduous teeth) is important for young children to develop their eating ability, speech patterns, appearance, and later to guide the eruption and position of their permanent teeth.

Childcare services provide ideal settings to promote good dental health. Childcare staff play a significant role in the education and modelling of healthy behaviours to young children and their families. We have the opportunity to:

  • set guidelines and policies within the centre
  • promote positive eating and oral hygiene habits in children
  • assist in creating desired and healthy behaviours for parents, carers and families.

Dental Health Week

1-7 August 2022

Love your teeth

Dental Health Week (DHW) is the Australian Dental Association’s (ADA) major annual oral health campaign. It takes place each year in the first full week of August. The campaign focuses on the importance of taking steps to care for your teeth and gums to help you to keep your teeth and smile for life.

The ADA’s main oral health messages and the four key messages of the DHW campaign aim to reinforce the importance of maintaining good oral health to keep your teeth for life.

Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
Clean between your teeth daily.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet and limit added sugar intake. Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and preventive care.

Our teeth are on display constantly, whether eating, smiling, laughing, or speaking. With the rise of the wellness movement and two years (and counting) of additional stress and uncertainty, many people are seeking change to their old routines as well as opportunities to relax, pamper themselves, and maybe even feel special. This year’s campaign focuses the oral health care message to one of self-care.

2021 Keep your smile

The 2021 campaign focuses on the importance of taking steps to care for your teeth and gums to help you to keep your teeth and smile for life. The ADA’s main oral health messages and the four key messages of the 2021 DHW campaign aim to reinforce the importance of maintaining good oral health to keep your teeth for life:

•    Brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
•    Clean between your teeth daily using floss or interdental brushes.
•    Eat a healthy, balanced diet and limit added sugar intake.
•    Visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and preventive care.

When do baby teeth come through?

Baby (deciduous) teeth start to come through the gums at around six months. By three years a child has a full set of 20 baby teeth. A baby tooth is in the mouth for up to 12 years before it falls out.

Front teeth at 6-12 months

First back molars at 12-20+ months

Baby eye teeth at 18-24 months

Baby second molars at 24-30 months

Why are ‘baby’ teeth important?

  • Healthy baby teeth are crucial in helping your baby learn how to speak properly.
  • Healthy and nice looking teeth are important in building self-confidence and self-esteem.
  • Baby teeth provide space for the permanent teeth.
  • Baby teeth are important in proper feeding and nutrition.
  • There is a potential link between the number of cavities a child has and the probability of the child being underweight.

When should you start brushing teeth?

Start oral care during the first few days after birth by wiping gums with a clean moist gauze pad or washcloth at least twice a day.

As soon as the first teeth appear, at around 6 months, they should be cleaned using a child-sized soft toothbrush, but not with toothpaste.

The easiest way to brush infant’s teeth is to sit, or lay, the child on your lap, support her head, and clean teeth gently.

For an older child stand or kneel behind the child in front of the sink or mirror, support her head and look directly into the mouth.

When should you start using toothpaste?

From around 18 months of age teeth should be cleaned twice a day with

a small pea-sized amount of low fluoride (baby) toothpaste, and a child sized soft toothbrush. Children should spit out, but not swallow and not rinse.

Toothpaste may be introduced earlier based on the advice of a dental professional. Toothpaste should always be used under the supervision of an adult. Children should have their teeth brushed by an adult up until eight years of age.

How often do you need to replace toothbrush?

Your child’s toothbrush should be replaced every three months or when the bristles are splayed out or look worn out.

Brushing Teeth

Children should brush teeth for two minutes twice a day with supervision.

Brush using a circular motion.

Start on one side and go all the way to the other side.

Top teeth on the inside

 Bottom teeth on the inside

Brush every tooth making sure you clean down to the gums

Gently scrub the chewing surfaces of the top and bottom teeth. Start on one side and go all the way to the other side.

What is tooth decay?

Germs (bacteria) in your mouth grow on teeth every day. They form a sticky layer over the teeth called dental plaque. The bacteria in plaque use sugars in the things we drink and eat, and make acids. The acid attacks the tooth’s outer layers (enamel and dentine) and dissolves them away. If acid continues to attack, then a hole will appear in the tooth’s outer layer. This is called tooth decay. Tooth decay may be painful or you may not even know it is there. Tooth decay starts as small white spots that grow to large holes over a period of time. If tooth decay is not treated it may lead to infection, pain and swelling and eventually to tooth loss.If the plaque is brushed off and saliva surrounds the tooth, the enamel surface can harden again. Fluoride helps the enamel to be repaired.

How can you prevent tooth decay?

  • Breast feed your baby and limit night-time on-demand feeding after 6 months.
  • Put your baby to bed without a bottle.
  • Only put breast milk or infant formula in feeding bottles and remove the bottle once your child has finished feeding.
  • Start brushing when your baby gets his first tooth – no toothpaste until 18 months old.
  • Introduce a cup from 6 months of age.
  • Wean children from the bottle at around 12 months.
  • Provide healthy food and snacks (‘everyday’ food).
  • Encourage water in-between meals. Tap water contains fluoride, which helps promote oral health.

When should my child have their first dental visit?

All children should have their teeth checked at all child health visits. All children should have a dental assessment by a dental professional by the end of their 2nd year.

How to prepare your child for first dental visit

Let your child know that visiting the dentist is normal and even mums and dads do it. If you’re going to your family dentist for a check-up, bring your child along to observe and get used to the dental environment.

Maintain a positive attitude, as children are experts at picking up on adult apprehension and will often act accordingly. Avoid mentioning words or phrases they could take negatively, such as ‘scared’, ‘it won’t be bad’, ‘needles’ or ‘blood’.

Tell them you’ll be with them during their visit.

Bring them to the dentist without younger siblings (if possible), as they can sometimes be a distraction to the child or parent.

If your child is fearful it can sometimes help if they bring along an older sibling or cousin they admire, so they may perform better for their ‘audience’.

We can recommend the wonderful team at Blue Apple Dental in Currambine. https://www.blueappledental.com.au

Blue apple Dental has been taking part in the terracycle oral care recycling program. They are a community collection hub for hard to recycle waste. Deposit your used oral care products at Blue Apple Dental.

Teething

Teething is a normal part of every child’s development. It starts when the first baby tooth cuts through the gum, at about 6 months and can continue until a child is 3 years of age. When babies start to teethe, they drool more and want to chew on things. For some babies teething is painless; others may experience brief periods of irritability. The gums may appear red and swollen and, if pressed, may feel hard and pointed. If a child is uncomfortable when they are teething, offer them a teething ring. If there are other symptoms like fever, diarrhoea or rashes seek medical attention.

Can thumb sucking or using a dummy damage my child’s teeth?

Thumb sucking or the use of a dummy by a baby is usually not cause for concern before permanent teeth appear. If the habit persists after the permanent teeth start to appear. The thumb or dummy might force the teeth and jaw out of alignment. This may need correction by a dental specialist.

If possible stop dummy or thumb sucking before the permanent teeth come through. A baby tooth is in the mouth for up to 12 years before it falls out and is replaced by permanent teeth.

Should we avoid a dummy and thumb sucking?

Dummies and thumb sucking are an important part of a child feeling secure. Balance the need for that security with the possible effects of physical tooth health. Try to limit use of dummies to mainly rest times and encourage your child to play without the need for the dummy as they approach the age of three years old.

How do I keep a dummy clean?

Dummies are frequently dropped so always keep a spare. Before using the dummy again place it in a sterilizing solution to kill bacteria or wash under running water. Cleaning the dummy by putting it in your mouth will transfer bacteria from you to the child. Children should never share dummies. Don’t dip dummies in sugary substances like honey, jam or condensed milk. They can cause tooth decay.

https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Health-Week/About

How does Diet effect Dental Health?

Ella Monaghan, OSCAR Care Group’s Lead Dietitian, explains “Diet and overall nutrition can have a significant impact on oral health. Dental caries is the term used to describe tooth decay and can be related to the foods we eat. Within the mouth there is bacteria, this bacteria requires energy (sugar) to survive. The sugar we eat is broken down into acid within the mouth which begins to dissolve the crystals of your teeth. In Australia, the consumption of sugary items such as soft drinks, juice and processed foods continues to rise and is a major contributor to tooth decay.

Dental Health for Babies diet

(Birth to Age 1)

Hold babies while feeding them breast milk or infant formula from a bottle.

Never put babies to sleep with bottles or sippy cups. Also, never prop bottles into babies’ mouths.

When babies are able to eat solid foods, give them healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, milk products (cheese, yogurt), and wholegrain products (bread, cereal) for meals and snacks.

Do not serve babies juice.

Offer babies over age 6 months tap water, ideally with fluoride, throughout the day.

Dental health for Toddlers diet (Ages 1–3)

Do not allow toddlers to carry bottles or sippy cups around with them.

Give toddlers healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products (cheese, yogurt), and whole-grain products (bread, cereal) for meals and snacks.

If you serve juice to toddlers, give no more than 4 oz of 100 percent fruit juice per day. Serve juice in a cup, not a bottle or sippy cup.

Limit foods and drinks with added sugar. If foods and drinks with added sugar are served to toddlers, give them as part of a meal, not as a snack.

Offer toddlers tap water, ideally with fluoride, throughout the day, and encourage them to drink.

Dental health for young children diet (Ages 3–5)

Give children healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products (cheese, yogurt), and whole-grain products (bread, cereal) for meals and snacks

If you serve juice to young children, give no more than 4 to 6 oz of 100 percent fruit juice per day.

Limit foods and drinks with added sugar. If foods and drinks with added sugar are served to children, give them as part of a meal, not as a snack.

Offer children tap water, ideally with fluoride, throughout the day, and encourage them to drink.

Little Smiles Dental Program at Kids College 

At Kids College we believe oral health is foundational, not just to bright smiles, but also to long-term health, wellbeing, and opportunity.

We follow the advice from the Little Smiles dental health program. Developed by global dental care experts, Colgate’s multi-cultural dental education materials and games help kids learn powerful habits like brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and empowering them to keep their smiles healthy for a lifetime.

This has components for learning for adults and children, has informed our policies and we have used their activities to teach the importance of good dental hygiene. We play a significant role in the education and modelling of healthy behaviours to young children and families.

Whilst this is a New South Wales initiative, we felt it was important to use this information at Kids College to go above and beyond to ensure we are providing support and education for dental hygiene and potentially be the only centre in Perth using this program.

Tooth decay is the single most chromic common childhood illness. However, it is mostly preventable through effective oral hygiene and healthy diet. The primary dentition (baby or deciduous teeth) is important for young children to develop their eating ability, speech patterns, appearance and later to guide the eruption and position of their permanent teeth.

Dental health at Kids College

Examples of how we promote good dental health include policy changes and information but also things like giving children cheese or apples after their meals to clean their teeth.

https://www.health.nsw.gov.au

We have The Colgate-Palmolive Oral Health and Hand washing education program which we use to inspire and educate children on how to take care of their oral health and the importance of hand washing.

http://palmolivecleanhands.com.au

The Bright Smiles Bright Futures™ program gives teachers, children and families the tools they need to make a good oral health a permanent part of their lives – focusing on building confidence to enable kids to take control of their own oral health.

https://www.colgatebsbf.com.au

One of the most important aspects to hygiene is the little things we do every day so we make a big effort to model good practices and to consistently share these messages with the children empowering them to understand the importance of hygiene and creating children’s agency to take increasing independence with these tasks.

Quote from Kids College Philosophy

‘We have stringent hygiene, health, nutrition, maintenance, safety and protection standards.’

‘Our unique Kids College curriculum and the Early Years Learning Framework builds on each child’s current knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests to ensure all aspects of our program maximize learning opportunities for each child.

National Quality Standards

1.1.3 Program learning opportunities.

All aspects of the program, including routines, are organised in ways that maximise opportunities for each child’s learning.

2.1.3 Healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating and physical activity are promoted and appropriate for each child.

Kids College Family

At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on [email protected]

With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family