- Oral healthcare should begin when your child is an infant. Before your baby’s teeth grow, you can start by rubbing their gums with a soft, warm cloth after your child feeds.
- Proper oral hygiene typically starts when your child’s first tooth emerges. Move on to a soft toothbrush when baby teeth emerge – make sure to be very gentle. Toothpaste can be introduced at the age of two or three and is not necessary for babies. Remember, baby teeth are placeholders and a foundation for permanent teeth so it’s not only the permanent teeth that need adequate care but baby teeth too.
- To make it easier and more fun, you can try giving your child a child-friendly and age appropriate electronic toothbrush. Many companies make specific models for children. Electronic toothbrushes can be much more effective than regular toothbrushes as they have more reach. Children should be brushing their teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly.
- Flossing – from the age your child can hold a toothbrush and brush their teeth, you can introduce them to flossing.
The dreaded dentist visits. Most children (and many adults) have a fear of visiting the dentist. This is often the result of lengthy, more complicated procedures that they have had to go through. Dental anxiety can be controlled – maintain oral hygiene, pay frequent visits to the dentist and don’t associate dentist visits with negativity. Children should have regular cleanings and checkups every six months.
- Early childhood cavities are preventable. Watching what your child eats and drinks is as important as brushing and flossing for oral hygiene. Limit their intake of sugary drinks and snacks as they provide a sugar source for bacteria to thrive on which in turn sets the stage for potential cavities.
- Use fluoride toothpaste as fluoride toughens the enamel which makes penetration by acid more difficulty and hence, decreases the risk of developing cavities. Fluoride makes the enamel more resistant to the bacteria and acid that cause tooth decay.
- Do not put sweetened drinks, soda or juice in a baby bottle.
- Limit the intake of sugar foods and drinks
- Dilute fruit juices with water – a 50/50 ratio
- Do not put sweetened drinks, soda or juice in a baby bottle
- Avoid fizzy drinks
Nutritionally balanced meals that do not have an excess of sugar as well as regular visits to the dentist and good brushing techniques can really go a long way. Here are some tips on encouraging your child to eat healthy.