In this time of Covid-19 when people are concerned about their children’s physical and mental health, it is important to remember that their oral health and hygiene matters too.
What Pediatricians Say you should Do
According to pediatricians, your children need to brush their teeth twice a day for not less than two minutes.
Flossing once a day helps remove food particles stuck in between their teeth.
Rinsing with a non-alcohol based mouthwash twice a day helps to remove harmful bacteria.
Each child needs to see a dentist for a checkup twice a year.
As always, sugary foods are not good for your children. The less the better.
Oral Hygiene for Infants
Most people don’t realize that babies are born with a complete set of teeth. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there. At six months old, their teeth start emerging from their gums.
Don’t wait until you see your infant’s teeth before you start taking good care of her oral teeth. You can start by wiping her gums with a soft wash cloth after a feed. This gets rid of any bacteria that might lead to damage on the teeth.
Once her teeth have emerged, you can now start brushing them twice a day with a tiny amount of toothpaste – as tiny as a grain of rice. The tooth brush has to have a soft bristle to avoid hurting her and you can use a fluoride toothpaste.
After your baby is done feeding from a bottle, take it away. Don’t let her fall asleep with the bottle or keep it in her mouth after she has finished her milk, juice, or formula. Keeping the bottle in her mouth can eventually lead to tooth decay.
If your child has shown her first tooth or celebrated her first birthday, she is ready for her first dentist appointment.
Oral Hygiene for Children
As your children grow and change, their oral hygiene needs evolve, too. A three year old already has all her baby teeth, or primary teeth as they are also referred to. By the time your child turns 6, her baby teeth are falling out and she is growing permanent/adult teeth.
You might notice some gaps in between her baby teeth. These are perfectly normal. By her 13th birthday, she already has permanent teeth.
Children should brush their teeth twice a day, floss, use mouthwashes when needed, and eat a healthy diet. A diet high in sugar is bad for her teeth and gums. Dental appointments twice a year must continue.
Oral Hygiene for Preteens
Older children need to maintain a strong commitment to strict dental hygiene. The good oral hygiene habits that you trained them to follow in their earlier years will now begin to pay dividends as they take charge of their own dental hygiene.
If you are having trouble getting your child to practice oral hygiene, consider reminding them that oral health is important for their appearance. Attractive teeth and good breathe will give them more confidence. This is likely to work because preteens are conscious of their appearance.
Dental Emergencies for Kids
As always, children must visit their dentist twice a year for checkups. However, certain situations might call for additional visits to the dentist:
- Mouth pain and swelling
- Biopsies to check for any abnormal tissue
- Dressing and Stitches
- Tooth or jaw pain
- Broken teeth
- Broken Orthodontic retainers or brackets
- Broken veneers and crowns
- Gum infections as evidenced by pain or swelling
- Painful gums and teeth while wearing braces