Dental Hygiene for Children
Have you ever experienced toothache? Then you definitely are familiar with the unpleasant feeling during toothache. If for us, adults, it is difficult, then for children it is twice more difficult. For that reason it is essential to give children knowledge about dental hygiene as soon as possible.
Oral care should be started when your child is baby. All parts of the body are interconnected, so when teeth are healthy from the beginning, it positively influences the child’s overall health.
Everyone agrees that those early sightings of a pearly white protruding out of a baby’s gum are adorable. Tooth eruption, more commonly known as teething is the process whereby teeth erupt through the gums. The first teeth to come out in babies are appropriately termed “baby teeth” or “milk teeth”. Although the first teeth begin to erupt at around six to nine months old, there is a slight variation for each child.
However, oral care should be started even before tooth eruption. Every time after feeding wipe your baby’s gums with clean washcloth. Also, thoroughly wash soother and bottle before using. These actions are the first step in kid’s dental hygiene.
Once the primary teeth have come in, it is important to care for them as they can affect the health of their permanent successors. Moreover, ensuring that children’s teeth are taken care of goes a long way in preventing tooth decay.
Where do cavities come from?
The food we eat provides a breeding ground for bacteria, since most foods contain carbohydrates and sugar. When food or beverages containing sugar and starch are left on the tooth, overtime plaque forms. Bacteria thrive on the foods we eat. Once the bacteria break down food, they produce acids that eventually eat away the tooth enamel, resulting in a cavity (or a hole).
Furthermore, plaques can also cause gingivitis, which is a gum disease that results in swollen gums that often bleed upon brushing.
Mouth problems may vary from dental decay to stomatitis and from dental erosion to gum diseases. What is common for all of them is bacteria. Because of bad oral care different types of bacteria and infections settle down in the mouth and promptly start to breed.
Infants at their age are very curious. They try to touch everything and put in their mouth. At that period of time parents should be very careful and don’t let their kids put in mouth unclean things. Furthermore, wash your kid’s hands periodically and make sure that toys are also clean. If you notice something in your baby’s mouth take it immediately and rinse the mouth. It helps to prevent from mouth diseases.
When is a good time to begin cleaning kid’s teeth?
It is recommended to clean children’s teeth when they first appear (at around 6 months old). When small babies drink milk or juice, the sugar can build up on the surfaces of their teeth. It is best to use a clean cloth or a soft toothbrush soaked in warm water to wipe their teeth and gum.
Moreover, at 18 months, parents can begin using a pea sized amount of toothpaste containing fluoride, to brush their child’s teeth. It is important to ensure that the child spits out the tooth paste, but do not rinse. In addition, parents should ensure all the surfaces of the teeth as well as the gums are cleaned, twice a day (morning and night). If your child doesn’t clean teeth properly, he or she may develop plaque and subsequently, gingivitis.
Having a healthy dental hygiene routine includes regular visits to the dentist. By taking children every 6 months for dental checkups, early stages of tooth decay can be treated and future cavities may be prevented.
Brushing and flossing
When trying to teach children to brush their teeth, parents can be overwhelmed and faced with challenges. So, a little creativity goes a long way.
Ordinary brushes and toothpaste are not appropriate for children. Their teeth are brittle and gums are soft. Buy for your kids child-size brushes with soft bristles to prevent damages in gum. Also choose toothpaste that is for children with a fluoride. Don’t forget to remind your children to brush teeth at least 2 minutes twice a day. Change toothbrushes every 6 months.
Flossing is another important part of dental hygiene routine. Children should floss at least once a day. You may buy floss with handle, so they can easily learn how to floss.
According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease among children aged 6-19 months. What’s more, tooth decay may lead to speech delays, infections and diabetes. So parents, rest assured your fight is worth having.
Some tips to encourage children to develop healthy dental hygiene habits:
1. Start early. It’s never too soon to incorporate brushing and flossing in children’s daily routine.
2. Let your children choose toothbrush themselves. Brushes with extraordinary shape or with their favorite character will interest them.
3. Set a good example. Brush alongside your children and have your kids emulate you.
4. Play games, and sing songs while brushing to keep them entertained. This can help associate brushing with having fun.
5. Use flosses made for children with different colors to keep them engaged.
6. Try introducing electric brushes, instead of manual ones, as electric brushes are more effective at removing plaque.
The most important point is never force your kids. Maybe you’ll not be able to teach brushing and flossing from the first or second attempt. But through regularly repeating, they will gradually get used to brushing and flossing teeth. Investing time in establishing healthy oral hygiene habits will ensure children develop lifelong healthy habits.
When to see a dentist
According to the American Dental Association parents should make the first visit to the dentist before their child’s first birthday. In addition, see the dentist twice a year. By starting early visits to the doctor you may be aware of your kid’s dental problems and prevent possible negative outcomes.
Besides regular check-ups immediately see the dentist if:
Your child has a tooth pain
Gums are bleeding while brushing teeth
Your child has a mouth infection
Permanent teeth are growing incorrectly
You found out decay in your kid’s teeth
Remember, dental hygiene of children starts from us – adults. We are responsible for developing good oral care and healthy eating for our kids. By this we can provide them a healthy smile!