We can prolong the lifespan of our teeth without having to bother about complications only if we take care of them properly, right from its first growth. This brings us to the concept of ”oral hygiene for kids.” The future of your child’s oral health depends on how well you cater to your children’s teeth at a tender age.
Tooth decay is a product of bacteria activities that takes place within the teeth line, which will most likely result in tooth decay and cavity formation. The pain associated with these conditions should not be undermined as it can affect a lot of your child’s activities.
The first approach to adopting good dental hygiene is plaque removal. Plaque, a sticky, whitish biofilm, is the principal culprit of tooth decay or loss. Bacteria acts on this plaque to produce acidic products that cause the erosion of the enamel. Gradually, this erosion begins to lead to tooth cavity, and finally decay.
So, how then can you prevent decay and efficiently remove plaque?
Babies can quickly develop early childhood symptoms of tooth decay, especially when they go to bed with liquids other than water in their mouth. Even breast milk and baby formulas contain sugar, and thus, can hide around the teeth and provide a reacting material for bacteria. Therefore, if you must soothe your child before bedtime, it is advisable to use a water-filled bottle to safeguard the growing teeth.
Discouraging your child from habits such as thumb sucking can help avoid orthodontic issues in the future.
Start with gentle brushing with a mild soft toothbrush using just a small portion of fluoride toothpaste. Do this once daily before bedtime. Until the tooth is finally grown, a gauze pad soaked with water is advisable for cleaning the tooth and gums.
By age three, you should start guiding your child on how to brush effectively using at most, a pea-sized worth of toothpaste. Continue to guide or help them until they are about six years old, whereby they should be masters of the art of tooth brushing.
It is also essential to instill a proper diet at this age. You will save yourself and your child a lot of complications by reducing the intake of sugar and soda. As a parent, you can easily imbibe this habit in your child at a tender age. It’s best to provide sugary food during mealtime, rather than in between meals.
Also, do not neglect to take your child for dental checkups at least twice a year. During this checkup, the dentist uses topical fluoride to sanitize the enamel and make it impervious to acid erosion. In some cases, a dental sealant can also be used to prevent bacteria and food particles from settling in tiny spaces within the molars.
At this stage, it is the sole responsibility of your children to cater to their dental health. However, you can also provide some support in the form of dietary and lifestyle choices. Teenagers should refrain from food or drinks with a high quantity of sugar and soda as much as possible. They should also reduce their alcohol and tobacco consumption. Lastly, dental visits should not be ignored, especially for children that use braces.
Remember, it is never too late to correct past mistakes.