Tips To Improve Dental Health For Your Child
Oral health is vital for our overall well-being. Yet, we somehow take it for granted. Also, depending on the child's age, the approach to oral health will differ. Here are some tips to follow!
By Dr Karishma Jaradi
A sparkling set of pearly whites is most often thought to be the secret behind the ultimate winning smile. However, good oral health is more than just a flawless smile. The way you maintain oral hygiene has a direct bearing on your overall wellness, right from childhood to old age. So it is essential that children start practising good dental habits early on. Good dental care contributes significantly to their overall well-being and appearance. And, commitment to a daily routine is a simple step to prevent children from developing oral health problems in the future. This routine should begin with infancy and last for the rest of their lives.
So, here are some tips to help your child get those healthy and pearly white teeth:
For children aged 0-4:
When a baby is born, the initial set of teeth already exists, hidden under the gums. The front teeth usually begin to be seen between 6 and 12 months, and the remaining baby teeth appear over the next 2 years.
Tips for dental care:
- The most important thing is to not put your baby to bed with a feeding bottle. Letting a baby sleep with a bottle or while being breastfed can cause serious dental cavities.
- It is advisable to clean the baby’s gums daily. After feeding, the baby’s gums and tongue should be cleaned with a damp and clean washcloth.
- It is important to choose the right toothbrush – especially the one designed for children aged between 2 and 4. These toothbrushes have small oval heads, soft bristles and a cushioned handle. They also have cartoons and fun designs that attract children and encourage them to brush their teeth.
For children aged 5-10:
It is very important totake care of your child’s milk teeth even though they will fall eventually. Children usually start losing their baby teeth from around 6 years of age. They have a combination of adult and baby teeth from about 6 to 12 years.
Tips for dental care:
- When adult teeth are coming through, children might find chewing more difficult since some teeth are loose or missing. However, it is important that they still eat healthy foods.
- Once a child is 6 years old, she may use a pea-sized quantity of the regular adult fluoride toothpaste (fluoride-free toothpaste for adults are also available in the market). Also, ensure that your kids do not ingest toothpaste.
- Limit the consumption of sugary foods and sweet drinks.
- Speak to your child’s dentist on using sealants that stop plaque build-up in the teeth grooves and prevent tooth decay.
For children above 10 years:
The baby teeth at the back are replaced at around 10 to 12 years of age. By this time, most children have all their adult teeth, except for their third molars.
Tips for dental care:
- Parents must ensure that their kids are brushing their teeth thoroughly before and after meals, to avoid unwanted enamel erosion.
- Regular flossing is a good way to keep tooth decay at bay.
- Along with brushing, gargling your mouth properly after every meal is important. This stops food particles from getting stuck between teeth and thereby prevents tooth decay.
- Ensure to have a periodical dental check-up to maintain good oral health.
For pregnant women:
Your dental health has a big impact on your overall health, which in turn, has a major influence on that of your baby’s. So it’s important that you consult your dentist to maintain good oral health routine throughout your pregnancy.
- Clean your teeth and gums thoroughly twice a day in order to avoid plaque build-up.
- Brush in the morning and as the last thing at night, and floss once a day. If brushing causes you discomfort, try using a soft-headed toothbrush.
- For healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy, drink plenty of water.
- Avoid sugar and aerated drinks.
- Eat at least 4 servings of foods rich in calcium, such as milk and dairy products.
Now that you know the dental care measures for different age groups, ensure your children follow them for their overall well-being. Remember, these simple oral routines can help your child stay away from many dental health problems.
The author is a dentist at Dentzz Dental.
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