Oral health is a very important part of the overall health and hygiene of your child. Inculcating certain good oral health habits in your child from an early age will prove to be very instrumental to your child in his later years. Bad oral hygiene and practices not only affect the oral health of your child, but also affect his/her overall health and cause many problems later in life.
- Use a fluoride toothpaste :
◦ From 18 months to six years of age, use a pea sized amount of low fluoride toothpaste.
◦ From six years of age, use a pea sized amount of a standard fluoride toothpaste while brushing.
◦ Encourage the practice of spitting out the toothpaste after brushing teeth. Avoid rinsing, as this gives the fluoride some time to work on your teeth and strengthen them.
- Drink plenty of tap water : fluoride content in tap water is one of the main reasons why you should encourage your child to drink tap water instead of bottled water from a shop. Fluoride helps protect the teeth from decay and also strengthens them.
- Encourage your child to brush his/her teeth along the gum twice a day
- Keep your child away from sugary drinks : the high sugar content in fruit juices and drinks causes significant harm to your teeth. Fruit juices which have no additionally added sugar are also high on natural sugar content.
- Encourage the habit of flossing twice a week : proper flossing guarantees the removal of any particles that may get stuck between the teeth, thus causing decay. Regular flossing removes these particles from between the teeth, thus keeping your child’s oral hygiene perfect.
- Limit sugary foods: limit your child’s intake of sugary foods with added sugar as the consumption of food with high levels of sugar causes tooth decay.
◦ Avoid giving your child sugar rich food in his/her snackbox
◦ Sugary foods generally include jams, sweet pastries, chocolates, muesli bars, cakes, biscuits and muffins.
- Remember that healthy snacks and meals are important for healthy teeth : pick different types of food rich in any of the five nutrient groups among Carbohydrates, Proteins, Vitamins, Minerals and Fibres.
◦ Inculcate the habit of eating fruits and vegetables regularly from an early age.
◦ Milk, yogurt and cheese are perfect sources of calcium, whereas lentil and other seeds are excellent sources of proteins.
- Plan regular appointments with your oral health professional from an early age : regular oral examination by a professional not only keeps your child oral hygiene in check, but also makes him/her aware of the benefits of maintaining good oral hygiene and the drawbacks of not, at an early age. Continuous monitoring and counselling by an oral health expert helps your child cultivate healthy habits early on in life.
- Have your child wear properly fitted mouth guards while participating in sporting activities
What to expect during a dental visit
On your child’s first dental visit, your oral health expert will first take down your child’s full oral history, right from birth. Here’s what you should expect on most trips that you take your child on, to the dentist :
- A thorough cleaning of the mouth : your oral health professional will scrape along and below the gum line in order to remove any plaque build up and tartar that may cause cavities, bad breath, gum disease or other problems or pose any threat to your child’s oral health.
- A full dental examination : you oral health professional performs a thorough examination of the teeth, mouth and the gums in order to look for signs of any problems or disease, or the symptoms of the onset of any medical condition.
- An X-ray of the mouth : x-rays are generally performed by oral health professionals in order to diagnose and reveal problems that might have otherwise gone unnoticed, some examples of which include impacted teeth, decay between the teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors and damage to the jawbones.