Children always require added protection; adopting preventive measures at a young age ensures a healthy life for them.
Oral hygiene and dental care are also healthy habits that parents can make their young ones habituated with, to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
Dental Care for Infants
It is a common wrong assumption that babies are not born with teeth; however, the reality is that babies are born with teeth, which are hidden in their gums. These teeth start coming out after six months, starting good oral care before this can go a long way.
Some of the common ways to maintain oral hygiene for infants include:
- Wiping your baby’s gums with a washcloth after feeding. This will help in removing any bacteria that can cause a range of problems to your baby’s teeth.
- Once teeth start coming out, make sure to brush teeth twice a day with an appropriate toothpaste and toothbrush, as recommended by your pediatric dentist.
- When infants nibble onto their baby bottles, they are prone to get baby bottle tooth decay. To prevent this make sure to take the bottle away from the baby once he or she is done.
- While scheduling your child’s first dental appointment at a dental clinic, ensure that it is either before their first birthday or after the first tooth is visible.
Dental Care for Children
Kids commonly have all of their primary teeth out by the age of three, and by the age of six they start falling off. Permanent teeth start erupting after the baby teeth start falling off. It is normal for kids with primary teeth to have gapped teeth because this makes room for the permanent teeth. Most of the permanent teeth usually come out by the age of thirteen.
Some of the common ways to maintain oral hygiene for children include:
- Using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste as recommended by the pediatric dentist.
- Make sure that your child brushes for at least two minutes, twice a day.
- Start practicing flossing at a young age to build the habit.
- Make sure to go to a dental clinic and visit a pediatric dentist every six months.
Dental Care for Preteens
With age, children are more prone to get tooth decay, cavities, and other gum diseases. Having a rigorous routine in place will ensure that they can take care of their teeth and gums. However, enforcing dental care on preteens can be challenging at times.
Some of the common ways to maintain oral hygiene for preteens include:
- Preteens are more conscious of their appearance; parents can use this to make them understand how taking care of their teeth can help them look and feel good.
- Advise your child to brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste so that their teeth are in good shape.
- Flossing is crucial at this age as most of the permanent teeth have erupted and cleaning between them is mandated to prevent cavities and other teeth diseases.
- Children who play sports should be encouraged to wear mouth guards to protect their teeth from any injury.
- Kids who wear braces should have the habit of using a power brush and flossing thoroughly to avoid the white spots on their teeth that come when they remove their braces.
Common Dental Problems in Kids
Like adults, children are also prone to certain teeth and gum diseases. Understanding the same will help parents in taking preventive measures and in early diagnosis.
Some of the common dental problems kids suffer from are:
Cavities develop over time and are common amongst children. Cavities are rarely detected by the naked eye during the early stages. Due to these reasons it is always best to take your children for regular dental cleanings. When a cavity is detected in its early stages it is possible to treat it with a filling, however, in severe cases a pediatric crown may be used.
A thin protective layer called the tooth enamel covers our entire tooth. The function of the enamel is to protect the teeth from bacteria. In cases where the tooth enamel is thin or has started wearing off, the teeth are prone to decay.
Tooth sensitivity is also a common side effect of thin enamel. In the case of children, primary teeth have thinner enamel making their teeth more sensitive to cold and heat.
Kids are often engaged in play and sports, during these activity sessions accidents are common. Tooth injuries are to be taken seriously and they require immediate treatment. The type of treatment depends on the type and severity of the injury. If your child’s permanent tooth is likely to erupt soon, dentists will extract the tooth and this will be the space where the permanent teeth can grow into.
Gum diseases are commonly observed in adults rather than in children, however in some cases if you find that your child’s gums are red and swollen it can be due to gum disease. In these circumstances consult a pediatric dentist right away to prevent other serious problems in the future.
Treatment will include the use of specialized pediatric dental cleansings to treat gum diseases. Along with the treatment, children may be required to use specialized rinses or cleaning techniques as well.
Otherwise known as a malocclusion, this is a condition, which is usually inherited or caused by extensive thumb sucking.
The ideal treatment for a dental misalignment is an orthodontic treatment. Parents can consult with an orthodontist about the different treatment options after their child has reached an appropriate age.
Getting your child to follow a daily dental routine can be a hard task. But with a clear strategy and consistency this can be achieved.
Some of the tips to actively engage your child in following an oral hygiene routine include:
Children learn through observation and when they see their parents engage in good dental hygiene they are likely to follow. Brushing and flossing together can help them pick up the right patterns and techniques from you. When it comes to flossing, parents can help their child floss if they are not old enough, or are not able to do it themselves.
When children are gifted new brushes or a fun brush that drives them to brush their teeth themselves, they willingly brush their teeth and have fun in the process. When replacing an old brush, ask your child what they would like to get as a replacement. Attention should be paid to the different colors, bristles, and their favorite cartoon character. When they are happy with their new brushes, they are also more likely to use their brush from time to time.
Keep Track of Time
Pediatric dentists advise that children should brush for two minutes, twice a day. Use a timer or a timepiece to ensure that your child is following this schedule.
The best way to ensure that your child develops good habits is through the reward system. You can make a system to record that your child is brushing for the prescribed time and then upon completion reward them accordingly.
Surprise Visit to the Dentist
Visiting a good pediatric dentist for regular check-ups are crucial in maintaining good dental hygiene for kids. A visit in six months is recommended to keep your child’s teeth healthy and clean. Children can also be given extra playtime or other rewards to ensure that the habit is sustained.
Developing healthy oral care habits at a young age can help your child acquire a good routine over time. This in turn will help in the prevention and care of the varied gum and teeth diseases. Parents can consult with a pediatric dentist to narrow down the best dental care routine for your child.