Oral Hygiene is the practice of keeping the oral cavity, which includes the teeth, gums,and tongue clean. Parents should start maintaining oral hygiene of their child within a week after birth. The best time to counsel parents regarding oral hygiene is when the mother is expecting because parents to be more receptive at the time. As a dentist, I am here with some oral hygiene instructions for all age groups of kids.
1. Infants (0-1 year old )
- Clean and massage the gums with a moistened gauze piece or wet cloth after every feed.
This helps in enhancing blood circulation in the gums and promotes growth of healthy bacteria.
- In some kids, the first tooth comes at six months of age, whereas for others, it may come at around one year. So, on the basis of number of teeth erupted, use of a soft toothbrush is advised.
2. Toddlers (1-3 years old )
- This is the best age to introduce your child to a tooth brush, if you have not done it earlier.
Brushing should be done by the parents, as the motor skills of children in this age group are not as developed.
- Brush your child’s teeth only with an infant sized toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Only a non-fluoride toothpaste is advisable for kids under three years of age.
3. Preschoolers (3-6 years old)
- A fluoride toothpaste can be introduced to kids, once they turn three years old.
- The brushing technique of the child should be properly supervised by parents, or parents must assist their children in brushing teeth.
4. School-going kids (6-12 years old )
- At this age, children now possess the dexterity to brush their teeth by themselves, but initially still require monitoring and reinforcement.
- A fluoride rinse and floss can also be introduced to kids in this age group
The ideal time to replace your child’s tooth brush is every three months or when you see the bristles appearing worn out, whichever comes sooner. Oral hygiene practices at home from an early age is very important to prevent condition like cavities and gingivitis in kids.
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