Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) recently launched a new oral health resource to help families care for their children’s teeth. The ‘Caring for Gums and Teeth 0–6 years’ resource provides families with useful tips and practical advice on caring for toddlers’ gums and teeth. It also advises parents on how to help children establish good oral health habits as they begin to develop more independence.
The resource was developed in response to results from a poll conducted by the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2018 revealing family uncertainty about when to start brushing their children’s teeth or using toothpaste.
“Caring for children’s teeth actually starts before teeth appear and having healthy baby teeth provides the foundation for healthy permanent teeth into adulthood,” DHSV CEO Sue McKee said.
“Tooth decay is the highest cause of preventable hospitalisations for children. Establishing a routine of brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste—along with eating a healthy diet, drinking tap water and getting regular check-ups—is the best way to protect their teeth.”
The resource was developed in consultation with more than 50 families, health workers and early childhood professionals from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. The resource is inclusive and accessible, reflecting the diversity of families living in Victoria and providing clear, simple messaging.
The ‘Caring for Gums and Teeth 0–6 years’ resource also supports health and early childhood professionals to engage families in conversations about dental health.