Beginning an oral health routine with your child at an early age is important for the life of his/her smile. Healthy primary teeth help in the proper development of the kid’s jaw and maintain space for the adult teeth. It also plays an important role in how a kid learns to chew, smile and talk. Having healthy teeth helps with confidence and participation in their education and social life.
0-2 years ( Before baby teeth and beyond)
- Begin baby’s oral care early, Wipe gums with a soft, damp washcloth after feeding. This removes plaque and germs that cause tooth decay and gum disease
- Once baby teeth come in, brush teeth 2 times a day with water and a soft bristle toothbrush
- Schedule the first dental check-up before his/her first birthday
2-3 years ( Introduce toothpaste )
- Brush for 2 minutes every morning and every night for an effective clean
- Dispense no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
- Remind kids to spit out, not swallow, the toothpaste
- Try to break thumb-sucking habits by age 4, since they can affect tooth spacing
- Remember to supervise your child while brushing until the proper technique is learned.
>6 years ( Independent brushers)
- Reinforce 2-minute brushing 2 times a day—in the morning and before bed
- Use a child’s toothbrush that’s specially designed to help clean the hard-to-reach back molars, where more plaque can collect
- Use child-safe fluoride toothpaste for cavity protection— remind him/her not to swallow toothpaste
- Begin flossing as soon as 2 teeth touch. Use floss holders or help your child floss until he/she gains the dexterity to do it on his/her own.
Teach your child brushing in 5 easy steps
- Brushing should take 2 minutes and small circular movements or wiggly motion should be made near the gum line.
- Divide the mouth into 6 sections and take 20 seconds for each section
- Start with the outer surface of your lower teeth, then the inner and then the biting surfaces.
- Repeat with the upper teeth
- Clean your tongue
Healthy diet = healthy teeth
Apart from maintaining proper oral hygiene, good nutrition is vital to dental health. Limit sugary and starchy snacks as these can increase the child’s risk for cavities. Offer your child food rich in calcium and vitamin C as these help in developing strong teeth and healthy gums.
Visit the dentist
Children should visit the dentist every six months. Some parents put off taking their children to the dentist if it seems as if everything is fine. The trouble is, it takes a trained eye to see cavities and other problems. Furthermore, dentists don’t just fix problems; they help to prevent future trouble. Over time, getting regular dental checkups can save money and lead to a lifetime of healthy smiles.