5 Dental Care Tips For Children
Getting your children to embrace good oral hygiene habits while they are young helps set the foundation for when they are older. Poor oral hygiene habits often lead to infections such as cavities and gum disease. Children are visual learners, so watching videos and reading books about oral hygiene is a nice way to start getting them interested in the topic. Another way to start is by making them a part of your dental care routine, and it could become a fun family activity. The process of getting children interested in oral hygiene may be tedious, but we have some tips guaranteed to make dental care for children easier:
1. Use Soft Bristled Toothbrushes
Toothbrushes come in several shapes and sizes. However, not all of them are ideal for your child. Your child's toothbrush should be easy and comfortable for them to use. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles because these toothbrushes clean children's teeth without hurting their gums. Because the bristles are soft and flexible, they can reach places other types of bristles can not. Soft-bristled toothbrushes also help to preserve their tooth enamels, enduring maximum protection from decay.
2. Use Fluoride rich Toothpaste
Fluoride is called "nature's cavity fighter" because it protects the enamels and helps reverse the early signs of tooth decay. Using a fluoride-containing toothpaste is essential for your child's oral hygiene. When bacteria in the mouth break down carbs and sugars, they produce acids that weaken the teeth. This process is called "demineralization," the use of fluoride-rich toothpaste helps remineralize the tooth enamel, thus preventing decay.
The earlier children use fluoride, the less likely they are to develop cavities. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the average number of missing or decaying teeth in 12-year-old children in the United States reduced by 68 percent from the late 1960s through the early 1990s. This followed the addition of fluoridated water in communities and fluoride in toothpaste and other dental products.
3. Ensure Adult Supervision While Brushing
It is important to assist children when brushing their teeth to show them the right way to go about it and make sure that the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth, such as the back teeth, are properly cleaned. It is advisable to keep assisting them until you are confident that they do not require your assistance anymore. Children less than three years old only require fluoride-free toothpaste the size of a grain of rice, while those between 3-6 years require a pea-sized amount.
Parents should ensure their kids do not ingest toothpaste while brushing to avoid fluorosis. This condition arises from ingesting excess fluoride. Although rare, fluorosis can be dangerous to a child's health. Some of its symptoms include:
- White specks on mature teeth.
- Dense bones.
- Pitting on teeth.
4. Brush Twice a Day
Children should brush their teeth twice a day, in the morning and before going to bed at night. They should also begin flossing once their teeth start to touch. This is encouraged to prevent tooth decay. When we eat, leftover pieces of food mix with the bacteria in the mouth to form plaque. The build-up of plaque causes tartar which is hardened plaque that can't be removed by brushing or flossing.
Accordingly, after brushing at night, children should not eat food or drink beverages and may only ingest water. Children must develop this habit to avoid compromising their oral health. Brushing twice a day is an essential aspect of dental care for children because it also helps prevent mouth odors.
5. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Children who consume a lot of sugar-filled foods and drinks are at a high risk of developing cavities. An essential aspect of dental care for children is making healthy food choices. Ensure that your kids have a diet rich in proteins, vegetables, and fiber. When they snack, switch out junk food for healthy alternatives, for example, apple slices instead of potato chips or watermelons instead of soda.
If they do consume sugar, ensure that they brush their teeth afterward. Having a reward system in place also makes dental care for children easy. Parents should closely monitor children because they are more inclined to obey when there is the promise of a reward.
The earlier you teach your kids the importance of good oral hygiene, the better for their dentition. Early oral hygiene practices help to build strong, healthy teeth in adulthood. It also helps your children to avoid dental problems such as tooth decay and the development of cavities.
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