Teeth are very important part of body. In fact, teeth can be responsible for very serious health issues if not taken care of well. As societies get more experienced, people realize that a little investment in taking care of the teeth can go a long way in our children’s health in later life. Teeth are not only part of oral health but also an important component of healthy self-concept, because teeth play a vital role in speech. Teeth are also significant for the impression we create on others with our appearance. That is enough reason to look after the teeth and oral health of young children.
The first step toward getting complete dental health for your child would be establish good habits for tight dental health regime from the very beginning. Habits, established early on will last a lifetime and will help him avoid many pitfalls of serious dental trouble later on in life. The advantage of investing time and effort in putting the toddler on to the way of good oral hygiene will pay off many times over in financial expenses and physical pain in adulthood.
A step toward avoiding bacterial growth in the mouth for babies is to clean the baby’s mouth just before you tuck him into bed. Wipe the inside of the mouth with a fresh soft towel so that there are no sugar remnants in the mouth from the feed. Do not let the baby go to sleep with the feed or juice bottle in his mouth. The bottle should be removed from the mouth and the mouth wiped clean. When you start the baby on semisolid and solid foods at weaning, no need to add sugar in whatever you are feeding. Let the baby have foods with their natural taste.
Early introduction to the dentist’s office
During childhood, the sense of security and belonging is very important. If we want out child to follow the healthy oral hygiene routine, we must make him feel secure with the people concerned with dental health. The first step towards this goal would be to introduce your child to the dentist before he is one year old, and as soon as or even before he has cut his first tooth. Make an appointment with your dentist and introduce your child to the dentist in a friendly environment. There should not be any inspection of the mouth with instruments and so on. Just introduce the dentist’s chair and let him get familiar with all the apparatus in the office. After he cuts his first tooth, you may want the dentist to check whether everything is order as far as his tooth is concerned. The subsequent visits will be pleasant if the baby has already made friends with the dentist.
The dental routine may start early and can be followed along with adults. It helps make the children aware of the routine as early as possible. The parent can make the child stand on a stool and rub a soft towel along his jaws. Then the parent can rub the jawline with his/her finger which will make him take notice of the routine the parents go through.
After the baby cuts her first tooth, the parent can start using a toothbrush for the baby without using any toothpaste, because the child will not be able to rinse the paste out.
Once the child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste, the parent can put a miniscule amount of toothpaste onto the brush and rub it on the teeth.
As soon as the child can hold the brush on his own, the parent can put a little paste on the brush and let him do the brushing.
Throughout the procedure, the parent has to supervise. The child should not be allowed to do the brushing on his own unless he can control the amount of toothpaste on the brush and properly use the brush including putting back the brush and paste in its place in the bathroom.
It helps if children can choose their own baby brush from the store. There is a selection of toothpastes available for young children in different flavours.
Fluoride is an important mineral which helps in keeping your mouth bacteria free. Most American homes get fluorinated water in their tap, but in case your home is not getting fluorinated water, then maybe you can discuss it with your dentist and get fluoride rich toothpaste or some substitute for fluoride in the child’s diet.
One of the major aspects of good dental hygiene is the diet. As is well known, sugar, if not washed and cleaned properly from the mouth is a treasure trove for bacteria which lives in the mouth of all of us. Sugar left behind in the mouth breeds bacteria which results in plaque on the teeth and causes decay. It would be a good idea to control sugary foods for the children.
What can you do to help build healthy dietary habits which will ensure good dental and oral health?
Do not reward the child for good behaviour with sugary foods like chocolates, candies, bottled no-natural juices, and so on.
Do not encourage junk foods like chips. Mid-morning and evening snacks should be fresh fruits or fresh fruit juice, or milk without added sugar.
Avoid giving the child heavy cheesy foods before going to bed, because it requires proper robust brushing and flossing to remove food particles from the mouth.
Do not associate good behaviour with sugary treats. Think of alternatives.
Healthy oral hygiene routine
Brushing and flossing at least twice a day should be taught to the child early on. You need to teach the correct method of brushing to the child by showing him how you do it, and with the help of stories and pictures. The child can be educated about oral hygiene with the help of stories and videos on dental care and hygiene.
Children learn best by copying from adults. Present a good model for your child to copy. If you follow good oral hygiene care routine, your child will step in your shoes.