Early Dental Care for Kids
One of the most important aspects of a child’s health is their dental health. Oral hygiene is a significant contributor not only to the overall well-being of a child but their surroundings too. It is important that a child be taught good dental hygiene from the young age, for the habits to get carried on as they grow. As a parent, you might often wonder what the best practices are to follow. Well, you can set your doubts aside, as Dr. Raji Pillai is here to walk you through the process.
Why dental hygiene is important for children?
Teeth do not stop with helping us to chew the foods we eat. They also aid in proper articulation and speech. Lack of proper maintenance can cause a variety of issues such as cavities, bacterial build that causes plaque and infections. This can result in bleeding gums and hugely intense pangs of pain. The pain can affect one’s day to day activities and hinder concentration, focus and sleep deprivation. Psychologically, children can develop inferiority complex and poor self-esteem. A single problem could lead to a chain reaction of problems that only gain momentum as they spread. In certain worse cases, it can also to long term repercussions such as deformed adult teeth and jaw structures which would then need a greater treatment to set them right.
What can you do?
Teeth forms in a child even before they are born. They are enclosed within the gums and only break through at around 6 months. In some rare cases, children can be born with teeth, which are called Natal Teeth. These teeth tend to have weaker roots and hence it becomes a matter of utmost concern to care for them delicately. Regardless, it is very important to care for a child’s gums before the first tooth as only healthy gums can support healthy teeth.
Some tips one can follow in general to care for infants are as follows:
After feeding, use a damp wet cloth and wipe your infant’s gums gently to get rid of any bacteria.
Once teeth erupt, using a soft-bristle toothbrush and a mild fluoride toothpaste (in a quantity no more than the size of a grain of rice), gently brush your infant’s teeth twice a day. Replace the toothbrush every 3 months or when the bristles get worn and roughen out. Once the baby is done drinking milk or juice from their bottle, take the bottle away and wash your baby’s mouth thoroughly. Prolonged exposure to the empty bottle can cause the buildup of bacteria and lead to tooth decay.
Once the baby crosses 6 months, switch the bottle to a sippy cup. Sippy cups have straws or a hard spout that only let the kid to drink whenever they want and how much ever they want at their will, which can prevent unnecessary pooling of the liquid that can cause damage. Schedule your child’s first dentist’s appointment around the time of your child’s first birthday and seek more customized professional advice that would be the most suitable for your child’s set of teeth. To learn more about dental health, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Raji Pillai at Hornsby Family Dental Care. You can also book the appointment online by clicking here.
Children around the age of 3 have almost all their baby teeth developed. Thus, with age, the dental hygiene practices should grow too. Most baby teeth start falling out after 5 years of age and the adult teeth that starts to grow is what will last them for their lifetime. Hence, it is highly emphasized to care for their teeth to prevent problems in the future.
Brush your child’s teeth at least twice a day and each time at least for two minutes. Brush your tongue or use a tongue cleaner to clean the tongue and keep your breath afresh.
When two of your child’s teeth start touching or are huddled closer, start flossing them.
Teach your child to spit the toothpaste with the spittle after they are done brushing. After that, teach them to swish and rinse their mouth with water and spit.
Use a fluoride toothpaste only recommended and approved your dental health provider. Learn about the brushing strokes that would help to get into every nook and corner of the teeth and gums and appropriately use them.
Take care so that your child does not swallow the toothpaste. It is recommended to aid kids with brushing until they are about 8-9 years of age.
Sucking the thumb and other activities can affect the straight alignment of adult teeth as they grow. This misalignment does not only impact on the facial appearance, but also the internal structure of the gums, jaws and the teeth roots. Correction of such teeth at a younger age is easier and it is more likely to last for a longer time.
What is next?
As children grow, routine dental checkups are of utmost importance to identify any underlying issues undetectable superficially and get advice on the best practices to follow specific to your child’s teeth’s features. The frequency of visits can vary depending on the advice of your dental health provider. To get started, please schedule a child dental visit appointment with Dr. Raji Pillai at Hornsby Family Dental Care. You can also book an appointment online.
* The information provided in this site is only general advice given out by a professional for educational purposes and should not be used as a substitute for actual medical treatment. This should not be taken as a complete diagnosis and should not be solely followed in case of medical emergencies. Please consult your dental health care provider for customized treatment and diagnosis. *