Taking care of your child’s oral health is important. We let you know how.
“Say cheese!” and your little one broaden his mouth to flaunt a smile with a perfect set of white teeth. You see the picture and a smile instantly flashes on your face as well.
We all like to see children with happy faces. And what makes their faces appear happy is a smile and a perfect smile isn’t complete without bright and shining teeth. The healthier the teeth are, the broader the smile will be and the happier they will look. Therefore, maintaining adequate oral health becomes paramount for your children.
Teeth are important in many ways. Strong and healthy teeth not only help in chewing food in a better way, but also help in keeping the vocal chords clear. However, keeping teeth healthy and clean is not a child’s play, literally. Therefore, the onus to look after your child’s oral health lies on you.
To begin with, you can start following the healthy habits that you would want your child to adopt. For instance, if you want him to brush his teeth before hitting the bed, you need to set an example by doing it yourself first. If you want him to rinse his mouth after anything he eats, you need to show him by doing it. Children always learn by seeing the habits that people around them follow.
Nevertheless, to make your work a bit easier, we tell you the prerequisites of oral care in children falling in different age groups. We will give you some tips for child dental care for your child’s bright smile.
Six months and above:
In most cases, the first tooth appears the moment a child turns six months of age. Therefore, as soon as you see one, start using a finger brush, but without the toothpaste. Many will advice you to use teethers during this period. However, it is not recommended. Teethers are potent
germ carriers and have the potential to infect your child.
Once the child hits the six-months button, the primary or milk teeth will be fully grown. Therefore, special care is needed during this time as these teeth set a benchmark for the permanent teeth. If any infection occurs or the teeth are not properly aligned, the deformity can be lifelong.
This is also an age when toddlers develop the habit of sucking their thumbs, lips or tongue. A regular medical check-up will help you in detecting any infection or problem early on in your child’s life.
If your toddler gives you a tough time in brushing his teeth in the morning, you can still maintain hygiene by ensuring that he does so before going to bed at night. You can also accompany your child during his brushing sessions to make it a fun time for him. You can play music or his favourite song or even a jingle to make the time enjoyable. You can also compose your own jingle and enjoy the time with your little one.
Buying an appropriate brush for your child is also an essential part—a pea-sized soft brush with a small head and a long handle is ideal. A soft brush will be gentle on his teeth and gums and the small head will easily move inside his tiny mouth. The long handle will help you to hold the brush along with your child so that you can teach him how to clean the teeth in a circular motion.
Apart from brushing the teeth, tongue cleaning is also an important part of maintaining oral health. And if your child refuses to use a tongue cleaner, teach him to clean the tongue using the brush only. Choosing the right toothpaste will complete the task since most of them in the market come with added flavours and chemicals. Ask your paediatrician as to which is the best toothpaste for your child.
Six to 12 years old:
This is the time when you can conveniently leave the brushing session on your child’s shoulders. However, you still need to closely watch his habits. By this time, your child’s milk teeth will start to fall and permanent teeth will appear. And this is the time of suffering as there will be a lot of pain and bleeding. Therefore, make you child prepare beforehand by teaching him how to handle the situation. The ideal time for brushing the teeth is two to five minutes, including tongue cleaning. You can also set a musical watch for the fixed time and encourage your child to enjoy the brushing time.
One of the most common problems faced by children at this age is the development of cavities. This happens due to a lot of sweet consumption. You can avoid the situation by educating your child about why it is necessary to keep his mouth clean after every eating session.
12 years and above:
When your child has reached 12 years of age, he must be completely left alone for his brushing sessions. However, at certain instances, guidance might be required.