Dental Care for Children

Dental Care for Children

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We’ve all seen the advertisements on television showing us the importance of oral care for children. Dental care in children is a pressing issue because as a parent it is difficult to see your child crying in pain. Thus, you need to arm yourself with knowledge about what you can do to save your child from tooth monsters.

Importance of Dental Care for Kids

A little girl at a dental clinic

Teeth are in danger of getting cavities the moment they are out of the gums which happens when your child is 4-6 months old. The mouth serves as an entry point for many bacteria, hence cleaning your mouth – brushing, flossing and rinsing – is necessary. A study shows that approximately 57 percent children develop tooth decay by the time they become adolescents. In fact, one study shows that 25 percent of adults lose their teeth by the age of 65 because of untreated oral diseases rather than old age.
What’s worse is that poor oral hygiene has been linked to fertility problem and even cancer.

Oral Hygiene Instructions for Children

Below are a few things your children need to do for healthy teeth:

A little girl and  a boy brushing their teeth

1. Brushing

Make sure your kids brush their teeth twice a day to get them into the habit of brushing. Each brushing session should last for approximately 180 seconds. While it is important to brush their front teeth, make sure they work on their molars as well.

2. Toothbrushes

When it comes to toothbrushes, there is a wide range of choices that are available for kids. Is your child into animals? You can get them a hippo shaped toothbrush or an alligator-shaped one based on their preference. However, make sure that the bristles are soft as the tougher ones can induce bleeding. Replace their toothbrush every three months as the bristles get worn out over time.

3. Toothpaste

Use a rice-sized smear of toothpaste for children under the age of two. For children over two, a pea-sized serving will do. If your child is over two years old and can spit out properly, use a fluoride-based toothpaste. This is because fluoride helps reduce tooth decay. Earlier toothpaste was not recommended for kids below two. However, due to rising levels of sugar in the diet of children, it is suggested that even kids below two years should use toothpaste.

4. How To Floss

Oral hygiene for kids is incomplete without flossing. You can start helping your kids floss, the moment the second tooth comes out. Initially, they can start with floss sticks, as it is easy to manoeuvre. Once your kids have grown a little older, they can move to string floss.

Child Dental Care Planning

  • The first visit to the dentist should be at the age of one. This is because their teeth are at the risk of developing cavities the moment their teeth become visible.
  • Bacteria can easily compromise the health of teeth making it optimal to fix an appointment with your dentist once every six months.
  • Incorporate milk, green leafy vegetables, and white beans into your child’s diet, as these foods are rich in calcium and help in strengthening the teeth.

Why should you Schedule Dental Appointments for your Child on a Regular Basis?

Your kids may groan each time you tell them they have to go to the dentist. However, these regular check-ups are required because of the following dental problems:

Dentist examining child's teeth

1. Tooth Decay

Kids are vulnerable to tooth decay as they generally eat lots of sweets. By visiting the dentist at earliest, you will get to know the primary signs of tooth decay, which can help you avoid expensive treatment in the future.

2. Crooked Teeth

Some kids have a poor alignment of teeth when they start growing. In most cases, crooked alignment gets corrected, but sometimes, the problem needs dental intervention. Early detection can maximise the chances of a successful alignment.

3. Fluoride Deficiency

Numerous toothpaste brands contain fluoride in them. However, if your child’s brushing technique is poor, they may have fluoride deficiency. Regular visits can spot the problem, and your kid can be given a topical fluoride solution.

4. Familiarity

Going to the dentist is not easy and even adults quiver at the thought of heading to the clinic. Inculcating the habit of regular visits familiarises your child with the setting.

Is It Compulsory for Children to Brush their Teeth before Bedtime?

If chidlren don’t brush their teeth after dinner, the food particles remaining between the teeth can cause cavities due to the acids produced. Also, make sure that your child does not consume any food or beverage after they brush their teeth for the night.

girl brushing her teeth

What to Do If your Child is Facing a Dental Problem?

Dental treatment for children can be a difficult affair as they can be anxious about what happens in the clinic. It is up to the dentist regarding what they can do to take care of the pain. However, you can do a lot to make sure that your child has a pleasant experience at the clinic.

  • Positive Reinforcement: You can build their confidence by constantly encouraging them and telling them that everything will be okay. Many first-time jitters are because of fear of the unknown. Once they are done with a session, continue the positive reinforcement by telling everything turned out well, just like you told them.
  • Distractions: A favourite trick of every parent, you can use funny stories or an amusing feature about the clinic to distract your kid. Very often, they overthink what may happen to them just prior to the appointment. Thus, distractions are a good way to engage their overactive imagination.
  • Mobile Phones: When all else fails, you still have a mobile phone that you could use to keep them engaged. If you have a couple of video clips to keep them occupied, then bring your headphones along as well. You could also download their favourite game which would keep them occupied.

When There Is Need to Undergo an Orthodontic Treatment?

If you find the alignment of your child’s teeth uneven or they have a distorted bite i.e, the top and bottom set of teeth do not meet and are far apart from each other, you should visit an orthodontist. Again, regular visits, one every six months, to your dentist can help identify such issues. Some dentists do orthodontic work alongside their regular work while others specialize in it. In some cases, these symptoms are obvious, such as pain while chewing or speaking and protruding teeth.

How Your Kid Can Avoid Orthodontic Treatment?

Teaching dental hygiene to children acts as a safety net against possible complications like cavities and tooth decay. There are some avoidable factors that also do contribute toward creating a stage in the development of one’s mouth where it becomes imperative that orthodontic treatment is carried out. Behaviours like thumb sucking can misalign and affect the proper growth of a child’s teeth when done over a long time. Another factor that causes this is the premature loss of milk teeth. If one too many milk teeth are lost before their time, it will misalign the development of permanent teeth.

Dental care for children acts as a defence against problems like cavities and keeps their pearly whites intact. Make sure you take them to the dentist every six months and inculcate a habit of brushing.

Also Read: Bad Breath in Kids