Your child’s overall health is dependent on healthy teeth. They make it easier for your child to eat and speak. Strong oral care will help you establish good dental habits as your child grows. Poor oral hygiene can cause infection, disease, and other problems.
These tips will make dental hygiene more fun.
- Children can help pick their toothbrushes. You can let your child choose a toothbrush that is their favourite colour or has a character.
- Let children help choose toothpaste. You can let them choose the flavour they like.
- Watch videos or read books that discuss dental hygiene.
- Use a timer to ensure that kids brush their teeth every 2 minutes. You can also play your favourite song to keep track of the time.
- Children should be rewarded for their good oral hygiene habits. Don’t give children sugary or sweet treats. Instead, offer something simple and healthy like apple slices or a star of gold.
- After your child’s visit to the dentist, plan a fun activity.
The path to better health
Fluoride is essential for your child’s oral health. Fluoride is well-known to reduce the risk of cavities in both primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth. Fluoride can also strengthen teeth by hardening tooth enamel. Most children get fluoride in drinking water. Fluoride is required in many cities to be added to tap water. Brita water filters do not remove fluoride and can be used. Reverse osmosis water filters should not be used.
Your child might need an oral fluoride supplement if their water is not fluoride-rich. Discuss this with your doctor. Your child will be given fluoride varnish and cleanings once they start going to the dentist.
Too much fluoride can stain teeth and cause damage to the child’s health. Make sure your child doesn’t swallow fluoride toothpaste. Follow all fluoride supplement instructions.
Brushing and flossing
Your child should start dental hygiene as soon as they are a baby. At the age of one or two, you should start using a small-sized toothbrush for your child’s dental hygiene. Your child should brush their teeth at least twice daily with water. A small amount of toothpaste without fluoride can be added to your child’s mouth. This toothpaste is safe to be swallowed by your child. You can switch to toothpaste with fluoride once your child is able to swallow the toothpaste. Use a very small amount. You can teach your child how to spread the toothpaste among their teeth, gums and tongue. Ask your dentist or doctor to show you how to brush your child’s teeth.
Until your child is 7 or 8, they will likely need to be helped with brushing their teeth. At this age, your child can use a larger toothbrush. The toothbrush should be changed every 3 to 6 months or when the bristles become worn. Brushing your teeth should take no more than 2 minutes. Flossing should be a regular part of your child’s oral hygiene routine. You should teach your child to floss at a minimum once per day. To make flossing easier, you can purchase floss with a handle.
It is important to teach your child how to brush their tongue. This will help reduce the bacteria buildup in your mouth.
Make sure your child is able to brush their teeth before going to bed.
Cavities are small holes in your teeth that can form. Cavities can develop when bacteria (germs), build up in your mouth. Acid can be formed from sugar in foods and drinks, which can cause tooth decay. Children are more likely to get cavities because it is harder for them to brush their teeth. Every member of your family should take care of their teeth. Cavities can cause bacteria-causing infections in unborn children, infants, or adults.
If your child:
- They may have white spots or brown areas around their teeth.
- You may have special health care requirements.
- Avoid frequent visits to the dentist.
- You were born prematurely or at a low weight.
Children who consume a lot of sugary foods or drinks are also at higher risk of developing cavities. Healthy food choices are important. Sugar is not a good choice. Avoid giving your child too much soda, fruit juice, and sweetened drinks. Between meals, limit sweet snacks and beverages. Make sure your child brushes their teeth after eating sugary foods.
Older children can chew gum safely. Chewing gum can have many benefits, such as:
- Stabilizing the jaw.
- Producing saliva.
- You can wash away food bits.
- Tooth decay can be caused by balancing acid
- Freshening breath.
Gum-containing sugar can lead to cavities. You can limit the sugary gum your child chews or give them only sugar-free gum.
Safety of the mouth
Another important aspect of dental hygiene is safety. A mouth guard is recommended for children who play sports. It is a soft, flexible retainer made of plastic that covers the mouth and sometimes the lips. This protects your child’s teeth from injury. If you require a custom-made mouth guard, talk to your dentist.
From baby teeth to adult dentures
Baby teeth usually appear between 4 to 7 months of age. The 2 frontmost teeth are the most common to be in. By 3 years, most children have all 20 baby teeth.
Children can lose baby teeth as young as six years old and as old as twelve years. Your child will have a mixture of baby and adult teeth during this time. Your dentist might talk to you about potential problems with your child’s teeth. Braces may be necessary for some children who need orthodontia. A complete set of adult teeth includes 32 teeth. Wisdom teeth are not included in this total. Most people don’t get wisdom teeth until their teens or early adulthood.
Things to Consider
Babies will often suck their thumbs, fingers or pacifiers. By age 4, most children have given up the habit. Too much sucking can lead to problems with your teeth’ alignment. Talk to your dentist if your child continues to suck after age 4. Your dentist can monitor your child’s development and help you to spot any problems. Most children don’t have to worry about sucking habits until they reach age 6 when their permanent front teeth are in.
When should you see a dentist?
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children visit a dentist by their first birthday. The dentist can examine your child’s teeth and diagnose any problems early. Pediatric dentists are trained to treat children’s oral health. Your dentist will discuss proper oral care with you.
Your child will feel more at ease if he or she visits the dentist as a youngster. Regular dental checkups are a good habit. Everybody should visit the dentist at least twice per year.