Aren’t you mesmerised by the toothy grin of your baby? If you like to secure that smile, start taking care of your child’s pearly whites as soon as they peek out from her gums. After all, primary teeth is directly related to several aspects of your child’s overall growth and development, notably:
- Facial posture and appearance
- Speech development
It is important to take good care of your child’s milk teeth because they are the ones holding space in the jaws for permanent teeth that are growing under the gums. When your child’s teeth are kept healthy, you don’t have to worry about tooth decays, which are not only painful, but also hinder the growth of the permanent teeth. Here’s a simple guide on the essentials of caring for your little one’s teeth.
The 20 primary teeth are already present in your baby’s jaws at birth. The first tooth, usually the lower or upper front tooth, erupts between six and twelve months. By the time your child is three, he will have all his 20 teeth in place.
Points to Remember
- It is a good idea to take your child on a dental wellness checkup on/before her first birthday.
- If your baby shows no signs of teething by one year, consult your child’s doctor.
- Drinking milk or fruit juices from a bottle for a prolonged time can cause tooth decay.
- After six months, offer drinks in sippy cups or glasses, rather than bottles.
Crunchy, raw vegetables like carrots and cucumber can help your child’s teeth by removing plaques and helping avoid tooth decays.
Taking care of your child’s teeth
- Start the brushing habit as soon as your child's tooth appears. As a first step, use a gentle clean washcloth to wipe her gums, and slowly clean her teeth. You can also use a finger silicon brush.
- For a slightly older toddler, choose a brush with soft bristles.
- Remember to brush your child’s teeth inside and outside.
- Don’t forget to gently brush the tongue.
- Replace your child’s toothbrush at least once in three months.
- The right way to brush is using Fones technique, as shown.
- Start teaching the Fones technique using your child’s fingertips instead of doing it directly with a brush.
- Guide your child to not exert too much pressure as it can hurt the delicate gums.
- Fluoride prevents tooth decay, so it is better to choose a fluoride toothpaste for your child. It should contain at least 1,000 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. After seven years, he can graduate to your family toothpaste, in which the fluoride content is usually between 1,350 ppm and 1,500 ppm.
- Do not let your child eat the toothpaste because too much fluoride can cause fluorosis, which makes your child’s teeth spotty. Excess fluoride can also cause diarrhoea.
- As soon as your child’s teeth start touching, introduce her to the habit of flossing. This will not only remove the particles hidden in between the teeth but will also remove anything trapped near the delicate gum line.
- Flossing regularly will ensure your child’s healthy smile is intact.
- Encourage your child to floss using floss picks.
Fun ways to get your child to brush his/her teeth
- Pretend play brushing a toy’s teeth.
- Together make a fun DIY toothbrush holder.
- Brush with your child’s favourite music playing for two minutes.
- Get a fancy tooth brush with favourite cartoon figure.
With inputs from Dr Priyanka Goyat, an Orthodontist from New Delhi.
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