Oral hygiene is an essential element of your child’s comprehensive health. Dental problems cause not just difficulties in eating and speaking but can also the chances of heart problems, diabetes, and arthritis later in life. Quality dental health is the good quality of overall health. With healthy teeth, kids will also become more confident and secure about their image in life. But despite all, good oral hygiene for kids requires maintaining a strong and motivated oral care routine.
So, if you are questioning how to have good oral hygiene, you first need to find out why.
Kids are born with a perfect set of teeth that are not visible as they are growing in the gums. By the age of 3, they grow out and become a complete set of baby teeth called ‘primary teeth’. The primary teeth start falling off around age 6 and make way for ‘permanent teeth’ that come out when they are 13-years-old. It is important to know that each stage of teeth growth requires proper maintenance of teeth which starts from the right parental effort.
At a certain age, kids become curious about everything and start questioning their own appearance. It is then when the right attitude can be transferred to them. It is better to make oral hygiene for kids’ fun.
• Brush their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes and floss thoroughly once.
• Make them enthusiastic about brushing by making brushing fun.
• Let them choose their toothbrush.
• Read them stories that narrate the importance of good teeth.
• Brush with them together so they can copy you, and learn how to brush properly.
Cavities and tooth decay are common in kids. According to Healthy Living, one two-year-old out of ten has cavities, and 50% of the kids by age five have one or more cavities.
Cavities, apart from being genetic, occur because of sugar which turns into acids that form holes in teeth. They are common in kids because of improper care as it is difficult to brush their teeth.
Fluoride is essential to kill cavities and reverse tooth decay in kids. It makes permanent teeth stronger. It also limits bacterial growth which is beneficial for kids.
It is present in toothpaste and water in lower concentrations. Fluoride apart from its benefits is not meant to be swallowed. Non-fluoride toothpaste for babies is available because the intake of fluoride may lead to stomach ache. It is recommended to give your kids milk if they intake fluoride. However, small size intake might not have a negative impact, large amounts that could cause dental fluorosis (white stains on teeth), and damage of tooth enamel that affects the required dental hygiene for kids.
Dental health tips for infants:
Good oral hygiene for kids is important and it begins with the proper care of infants. One might wonder how to keep good oral hygiene for infants when they don’t even show teeth yet? But, even if the baby’s teeth don’t come in, bacteria start developing on the baby’s gums.
• Wipe their mouth and gums with a soft and wet cloth.
• As soon as the teeth start growing, switch to use a toothbrush and rice-grain sized toothpaste.
• Make sure to use non-fluoride toothpaste because babies haven’t yet developed the right sense of what to swallow.
• Angle your baby’s head downwards so that the paste comes out of their mouth and they don’t swallow the toothpaste.
Kids at this age have fully grown baby teeth. Dental hygiene for kids at this age is crucial as kids might get cavities at this age. At this age, a healthy brushing habit can be developed in the kids if treated with the right attitude. American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) has given dental tips for kids by recommending the use of fluoride toothpaste for kids.
• Use pea-sized toothpaste.
• Make sure that the kids brush their teeth twice.
• Start flossing habits for the kids.
• Supervise their brushing and teach the right way to brush. Emphasize on brushing back teeth where cavities are prone to develop. At this age, children should be taught the right swallowing habits.
By now, children have developed brushing habits and they should be left to do their own thing. The only thing that you can do for dental hygiene for kids is to prepare a healthy diet for them while pushing for a proper routine two times a day.
It is advisable to go for braces when all the permanent teeth have grown. It will perfectly shape the child’s teeth for the rest of its life.
Motivate them by eating healthy food with them and promoting a healthy body image.
• It is advised by pediatrics that sugar should not remain in the mouth for a long period of time. So, make sure to brush your child’s teeth after they intake sugar in food or drinks like toffees, sweets, caramel, dry fruits, and soft drinks.
• Nail-biting should be discouraged as it can damage teeth quality.
• Make sports-playing kids wear teeth gears to prevent permanent teeth damage.
• Excess brushing should also be avoided as it damages the quality of the teeth.
If you need to know how to have good oral hygiene for your kids, maintaining a healthy diet is very important.
The most important dental health tip is to reduce sugar intake. Sweets like cookies, chocolate, cake, etc. can be given to them after lunch because that is when the mouth releases excess saliva that protects the mouth from cavities.
According to the National Capital Poison Centre, dairy products like milk and butter resists the acid-forming in the kid’s mouth.
Candy or food stuck between teeth increases the chances of cavities. Flossing helps in removing the food stuck. If possible, give the children fluoridated water which helps in reducing tooth decay.
We recommend you to go to the dentist every 6 months or twice in one year, to check indications of cavities or any problem.
• Swelling in the mouth or outside
• Pain in gums or teeth
• Colour or texture change of soft tissues
It requires attention to keep your child’s dental health in check. Remember what is important for your kids before leaning into their sugary demands. For, the brightest smiles do come from the brightest teeth.