Tooth decay can happen even if there is just one tooth in the child’s mouth. Hence, it is imperative that parents start brushing their child’s teeth as soon as teeth start erupting. Here are six useful tips for parents to keep their child teeth and gums healthy.
One of the most common mistakes parents make when it comes to dental hygiene in kids is waiting to start brushing until all the teeth erupt. Tooth decay can happen even if there is just one tooth in the child’s mouth. Hence, it is imperative that parents start brushing their child’s teeth as soon as teeth start erupting. Another misconception is thinking milk teeth are not important. Usually, parents don’t pay much heed to milk teeth as they feel milk teeth will eventually fall and new permanent teeth will grow. However, the fundamental foundation for good oral health begins with milk teeth. Milk teeth help guide permanent teeth into the right position and facilitate adequate growth of the jaws, thus avoiding overcrowding of teeth.
Early loss of milk teeth in a child can also cause psychological effects like lack of confidence and self-esteem. They could get teased by children in their play groups or school for bad breath or food being stuck in-between their teeth, which could lead the child to feel embarrassed and he/she might think twice before interacting with other children in the future. Parents must ideally take their children to the dentist once at birth and then regularly after every 6 months. It is critical to maintaining good oral hygiene for kids as oral health also has a direct impact on general health. In this article, Dr. Vijendra, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Dentist at Sagar Hospitals, Bangalore, spoke at length about the importance of practicing and maintain good oral hygiene during childhood. Read on to learn how to take care of your child’s teeth and gums to prevent tooth decay.
Are fancy toothbrushes and toothpaste designed for kids effectively?
According to Dr. Vijendra, any toothbrush or toothpaste is fine as long as the technique of brushing is correct. It’s important to reach every surface of the teeth and give equal attention to all teeth. The right way to brush is in a circular motion. Also, most kids have a plaque on the lower teeth because, while brushing, the lips stretch and tighten, not allowing the brush to clean the teeth adequately. Therefore, one must consciously keep the lower lip retracted for sufficient cleaning of the lower teeth. Finally, toothbrushes must be changed every 2 to 3 months.
Useful tips to teach Kids how to brush well and make it a habit
Make brushing fun! It could be a group activity where parents brush along with children or introduce a toy toothbrush when the kids are young. Parents can even create stories on chasing and seizing germs with the toothbrush.
Usually, if brushing is merely an instruction, children will try finding ways to get out of it. Therefore, a good way to go about making brushing a habit for the child is to create fun and amusing things to do, until it becomes a way of life. Lastly, it is always a good practice to stand before the mirror and brush the teeth.
Signs parents must look out for to ensure teeth health is in shape
Dr Vijendra suggests that parents look out for signs of difficulty in eating, bad breath, shaky teeth and visit a Paediatric dentist to get it fixed. Even if there are no signs, a parent must take their child to the dentist once in 6 months for a check-up. Consult with the dentist and undergo preventive treatments like dental sealant or fluoride treatments. These are extremely effective in keeping tooth decay in check.
Precautions to follow when kids start losing their teeth
Early loss of teeth or a delay in loss of teeth both require medical attention. Visiting a Paediatric dentist for a check-up is the first step. The dentist will be able to identify tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth alignment issues among other problems. If there is a problem, it is always easier to fix at an early stage.
It’s imperative that the child does not brush too hard, when he loses a tooth, as that area would be sensitive. Also, parents should teach their child not to forcefully pull out a tooth, as this can cause the roots to break and leave a way for food and bacteria to set in, causing infections.
The right age for kids to lose teeth
Children begin to lose teeth starting at the age of 6 years. The other teeth start falling in a sequence periodically until the age of 12- 13 years. There is no underlying problem as such if teeth fall before the age of 5. It is not common but can be an exception. That said, make sure a Paediatric dentist is keeping track of the child’s oral health.
Diet recommended age wise for good dental health
There is no specific diet for different age groups, however, below are a few tips parents can adopt:
- Children who are on a milk diet should be given water at the end of feeding in order to rinse out the sticky milk particles.
- Children who eat a normal solid food diet should consume less sticky food and sugar-based substances, and it’s always better to avoid junk food as far as possible. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits should do the trick.
In addition, a thorough rinse of the mouth is a must when eating outside food. If at home, it always bodes well to brush your teeth.