Oral health awareness in kids :
So the month full of love and candies is on the verge of ending. And so, let’s all come out of the chocolate filled dreamy world and enter into the real world again. I’m sure, today’s smart kids have used this month to fulfil their pockets with chocolates and mess up their cute faces. So why not, have a look at those pearl whites, if they need some extra care, after that candy-mania!!
Preventing tooth decay in Kids :
Most of the kids, by the time they are 3, have nearly full set of 20 baby teeth, and their jaws are growing. This means that it is a time to be extra careful for our toddlers. I still remember making my baby taste the delicious strawberry cake when he was 6 months, 100% toothless. I feel, the time starts from the time they are infants and slowly the responsibility grows with the teething. Tooth decay can happen as early as your toddler is just 2 years and that’s the reason, we need to love and care these baby pearls, for a smile worth remembering.
How to prevent tooth decay in kids | Spreading Oral health awareness :
1. Cleaning has to begin early :
Did you think that we need to clean before the teeth have sprouted? Well, yes, even before the teeth are there, do wipe the gums with soft clean cloth or gauze pad so that excess of milk or any baby food you give is removed. Early start is better to have a clean Oral care.
2. Ensure first visit to Paediatric dentist :
Some babies start teething by 6 months and some by 1 year. So the standard that goes is, plan a visit to the dentist within 6 months of the start of teething. Find a child dentist you seem to be comfortable and get the teeth chart.
3. Start with the Finger brush :
Toddlers gums are too soft, so you can start off the brushing regime with the soft finger brush, twice a day(morning and night). Start this without any toothpaste as babies are bound to swallow the paste completely. Slowly, you can introduce toothpaste, but use not more than a smear or a very small drop for toddlers or kids less than 3 years. Do not ask your child to brush themselves, until you are confident that they can really clean up even if they are less than 3 years.
For kids more than 3 years, start using pea sized fluoride toothpaste. Be with them to supervise their hand movements and cleaning between the teeth. Make them learn to clean the outer and inner surfaces of both upper and lower teeth. Teach them the circular manner of cleaning so that any food item or fibres left in between the teeth can be cleaned. Ensure that their tongues are cleaned daily after brushing for a fresh breath.
Cavities develop when sugary foods stay long in the mouth. So, you can also opt for brushing after the kids have had enough sweets so that the teeth bacteria don’t have any leftovers to eat away the tooth enamel.
4. Ensure cleaning for upto 2 minutes :
I know that’s too much to ask from a toddler or preschooler, but believe me, this boring brushing can also be a fun. Sometimes, we spent more than 2 minutes in the whole process, just because it seems interesting. I usually opt for an interesting character story or a story with some learning and my son’s mouth is widely opened allowing me proper brushing. I also sing some new rhymes and that makes it a healthy timeline with fun. Why don’t you too try it out?
5. Educative Stories & Videos :
There are many educative videos and rhymes, which teach kids about the oral hygiene. As the kids are growing from toddlerhood, narrate these stories and show them the best way for their dental health. Kids do get impressed by looking at their favourite character brushing teeth and get it done easily from next time.
Further, explain them as in why do we need to brush, they are small, but their brain is growing fast to catch up all this knowledge.
6. Flavoured Toothpaste :
Use toothpaste designed for kids, as they contain the right amount of fluoride and sweet flavours which kids can adapt to. We cannot expect a small kid to use mint flavoured toothpaste. Soft flavours will encourage them to be regular in their brushing. Fluoride protects teeth by making them stronger. It also makes them more resistant to acid and reduces the risk of cavities.
Here are some suggestions of good toothpastes, which you can buy for your kids :
7. Flossing :
Many parents miss out this important task, which is so helpful in preventing cavities right from the start. We cannot expect toothbrush to rich in the spaces between the teeth and clean the smallest of the food particles. This is why flossing is must, when the kids teeth start touching each other. It can be started easily by 3 years of age or even before that. Flossing will remove any food stuck between teeth and even plaque, thus preventing gum diseases and tooth decay. There are many soft plastic floss holders for the ease of small kids.
8. Avoid sugary & acidic intakes :
One must avoid acidic foods and sugary drinks right from the start. Instead of serving sugar drinks, offer them fresh fruit shakes or juices. Avoid adding any extra sugar or concentrates. Similarly, replace chips, candies, creams with fruits and healthy nuts & foods. Indeed sometimes, kids will have, so then remember to floss and clean the teeth to remove off the extra sugar lying in the teeth spaces.