Oral care and hygiene should begin right from the time your baby is new born. Even before your baby’s teeth has started appearing, you should keep their oral cavity clean and dry every day. Gently wipe their gums with a soft moistened cloth at least once a day. Once your kid’s primary teeth begin to appear, you should use a toothbrush specifically made for children. Brush twice a day and gently massage their gums and teeth.
Chosing the right toothpaste and tooth brush:
Select a toothbrush which is small and colorful, with soft bristles and a good grip to it. Replace toothbrushes every three months or when bristles appear frayed. Frayed bristles are not effective at removing plaque and may scratch gums. This can cause bleeding. When choosing a toothpaste for your kid, choose one which is low in fluoride content. There are special low-fluoride toothpastes that have been developed for children and these can be introduced from around the age of 18 months.
Use only a smear of toothpaste like pea sized; and ensure your child spits out the toothpaste after brushing. Store all toothpastes out of your child’s reach. Kids and toddlers love the taste of toothpaste and would like to taste it often. This can lead to fluorosis.
Teaching your child to brush properly:
From around the age of three, children can be taught to brush their own teeth. Infant and toddlers don’t develop fine motor skills to brush their teeth on their own, hence parent help is needed up to 8 years of age.
Pick a Position to start brushing – make the child sit on your lap with head slightly tilted back or chose a high chair if comfortable; this will help keep both the parent and the toddler at ease while brushing.
Begin brushing slowly and gently in small circles to clean the front surfaces and then tilt the brush to reach inner surfaces. Brush back and forth slowly covering all areas of the teeth. Avoid vigorous brushing as this can damage the gums and cause bleeding.
Entire process of brushing should be for two minutes and not less than that. Brush twice a day every day. Once your child learns how to brush, u can let them do it on their own which is usually after 8 years of age without much supervision.
Why the need to brush your child’s teeth so important?
Very often curious and inquisitive children can pop this question as to why the need to brush. Most mothers also have this assumption that there is no use brushing their child’s teeth as they are going to fall off anyway. It is very important to brush and keep your baby’s teeth clean as brushing removes food particles in the mouth .Food particles when not cleared tend to accumulate bacteria and germs which can lead to plaque formation and tooth decay . Toothpaste with good fluoride content tend to make teeth stronger and strengthen enamel and gums. Brushing your child’s teeth twice a day and immediately after meals will keep the mouth area clean, prevent bacterial growth and cavity formation.
Make brushing fun without creating a fuss
Children often dislike when forced to do a particular task. Brushing is one of them. Convincing your child to brush daily without creating a fuss can be a hercules task for every parent. However you can make this activity fun and more enjoyable without making this a bitter experience for your little one.
- If your toddler doesn’t like to brush or resists, place him on a high chair and keep him seated so that he cannot move.
- Play nursery rhymes or their favorite songs in the background to create a happy lively mood.
- Buy tooth brushes in bright colors and add glittering stickers on them to make it attractive.
- Encourage oral hygienic habits like brushing, flossing at an early age so that your baby gets used to it and enjoys it as they grow.
- Children love imitating their parents. Try brushing along with your child and make funny little gestures to distract the child.
- Make brushing a family thing – Adopt a time when family brushes together every day. Once your child watches you do the same activity, he/she will repeat it and have fun with it.
- Reward your child with small praises once you have finished with the brushing activity. This will bring in more sweet moments to look forward in your kid.
We all know children are like wet cement. They imitate and follow whatever they observe around them during their growing years. Parents can set an example for their own children by inculcating good oral hygienic habits in their daily lifestyle and developing a family routine. It reflects very well on your child’s development with respect to cleanliness and hygiene.
Talk to your nearest dentist for more advice on oral hygiene is needed.Make regular hygienic habits a good experience and smile your way to a happy dental health.