Oral hygiene plays a very important role in the overall health of teeth and gums. While adults can be entrusted to routinely care for their teeth, children need adult help and supervision in order to establish healthy oral habits and encouragement to form lifelong patterns.
Babies face the risk of tooth decay as soon as their teeth start to appear, which is around the age of 6 months. Tooth decays at such a young age it is referred to as ‘baby bottle tooth decay’. The decay of teeth in such young babies mostly starts from the upper front teeth and if left untreated then spreads to the other teeth. In case you notice discoloration, or anything unusual, it is best to visit a child dental clinic for proper care and treatment.
Parents often wonder about the age at which they should start brushing their child’s teeth. According to the dentists, as soon as the child’s teeth are in contact with other teeth they need to be brushed. Children usually acquire the full set of 20 primary teeth/baby teeth between two to three years. A proper cleaning routine should be established for children, as food particles can get stuck between the teeth which in turn fosters the growth of plaque and bacteria.
Oral Care and Hygiene for Children
Once the child reaches the age of 2 years, encourage them to start brushing their teeth on their own, but definitely under the parent’s supervision. Try and make the process creative and interesting in case the child is resistant to brushing their teeth. Having a cartoon character themed brush is a creative idea to inculcate the habit into the child.
Back teeth are the first place where cavities begin to develop, so care should be taken to clean the back teeth properly. Parents should supervise the daily teeth brushing routine till the habit is firmly established in the child. Choose a brush that is designed for toddlers, a bush with a narrow head, soft bristles are ideal for young children.
As recommended by dentists, teeth should be brushed for two minutes, to make the activity fun and interesting for toddlers, a parent can brush their teeth along with the child to set a good example.
Once the child has reached the age of three, parents should monitor the food habits and the nutrition of their child. Eating and drinking habits have a direct impact on the oral as well as overall body health. By limiting the number of sugar-laden treats and sugary drinks and substituting them with healthier alternatives is a great way to promote overall oral health in young children.
Often parents face the situation where a child adamantly refuses adult help and supervision while brushing their teeth. Instead of giving in to the child’s demand parents must remember that children lack the dexterity for thorough cleaning till they reach the age of seven years. Until then it is best to monitor as well as help them brush and floss (if needed).
Make a routine and stick to it, a regular schedule is good for establishing a lifelong habit. Children start getting permanent moral from the age of five years, hence routine cleaning is important. Cultivate the habit of both morning and evening tooth brushing, if needed make this a fun family event.
Once children start attending school parents lose total control over their eating habits especially during school hours. In case this happens with your child its best to set an example by eating healthy food yourself and following a consistent dental care routine. Limit the amount of sugary carbonated drinks and substitute unhealthy food with healthier options.
Proper Brushing Technique
Children over the age of 7 years should use fluoridated toothpaste along with a toothbrush that is designed for different sized baby and permanent teeth. Teaching your child the correct brushing technique is important for healthy oral habits.
Teach your child to hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, brush the teeth with short strokes, the front teeth, back and top of the teeth.
Children often scrub their gums while brushing which causes irritation and dissuades them from brushing in the future, take care that they do not hurt and irritate their gums while brushing.
The back of the teeth is as important as the front, teach them to brush behind the front teeth, both top and bottom. The back of the front teeth requires special attention as it is the first place for tarter build up. Teach them to use the top of their brush to reach this area.
Routine oral care is important for healthy gums and teeth, in case your child complains of toothache do not overlook it, it is best to visit a child dental clinic for proper treatment and care. It’s best to spot potential future problems early and start their treatment at the earliest. Regular routine checkups at specialized child dental clinics will also help you address problems such as crooked teeth, or buck teeth.