Importance of Oral Hygiene And Dental Care For Kids

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Are you keen to inculcate oral hygiene in children? Does your kid avoid brushing his teeth daily? Are you concerned that dental problems may plague your kid early on in life? Are you clueless about the right age for kids to visit the dentist?

If you are looking to get more information on oral hygiene for kids, read on to know how you can keep those tiny pearlies of your kid healthy and beautiful.

Dental Care For Kids:

Food articles can remain stuck between your kid’s teeth if he has not brushed or rinsed well. It can lead to an infestation of bacteria and an acid build-up in your kid’s mouth. The acid will erode the enamel of your kid’s teeth gradually and create dents known as cavities.

Here are a few healthy oral hygiene instructions for kids you can teach them to help keep the cavities at bay:

[ Read: How To Brush Teeth For Kids In A Right Way ]

1. Teach Good Oral Hygiene For Kids Early On:

  • You may think your kid is still too young, but it is never too early to start inculcating good oral habits. Taking care of your kid’s dental hygiene is extremely important to safeguard his overall health. Make sure that your kid follows basic rules of dental care such as brushing twice daily and practicing the right technique of brushing vertically instead of the sideway motion.
  • Once your kid starts getting his permanent teeth, his dentist may recommend using a resin or a sealant that will help to prevent any dental decay. Your kid’s dentist will apply a thin layer of resin on the back of his teeth, the place where food particles are likely to stick. The coating of resin on your kid’s teeth will act as a protective layer that will keep the harmful bacteria at bay. It will also prevent the germs from breeding in those areas of the molars where it is difficult for the toothbrush to reach. Even though your kid’s dentist may apply a layer of resin, it does not mean that it will protect his teeth from damage without the need of proper care. Tell your kid that it is important to follow proper oral hygiene habits such as brushing twice and flossing and washing the mouth properly, even though the resin is in place.
  • If your kid wears braces, you should help him to brush and floss properly.
  • You can help your kid carry a handy dental kit with a toothbrush, small toothpaste and dental floss inside.

2. Your Kid Should Use Toothpaste That Contains Fluoride:

  • The fluoride in your kid’s toothpaste will help to keep his teeth enamel strong and will also help to protect it against cavities and other dental problems. While fluoride is present in most toothpaste, in some cases brands the quantity may not be enough to keep your kid’s teeth protected. You can ask your kid’s dentist if there is a need for using fluoride supplements. Make sure you check how much fluoride you can safely give your kid to use, as an excess of it can cause discoloration of his teeth.

[ Read: Teeth Discoloration In Children ]

3. Cut Down His Consumption Of Unhealthy Foods:

  • Sugary and sticky foods like candies, sweets, chocolates, juices, and fizzy drinks can cause the maximum damage to your kid’s dental health. Such unhealthy foods can weaken the enamel of your kid’s teeth and cause cavities. It may not be possible for you to make your kid strictly avoid the intake of such foods. However, you can make sure that you teach him to rinse his mouth thoroughly soon after enjoying a sweet treat.

Tips To Teach Your Kid To Floss:

Your kid should start flossing from as early as the appearance of his first few teeth. Flossing the teeth will help to remove any food particle stuck in between the teeth and prevent the growth of bacteria. Here are some steps that your kid can follow to floss his teeth properly, as a part of dental care for children:

  • Give a piece of floss to your kid that is about the same length as his arm. Now help your kid wrap the piece of floss around his middle fingers. Your kid has to leave a gap of about two inches between the hands. Tell your kid that he will have to use his index finger to guide the floss between his teeth while he is flossing.
  • Next, your kid has to slide the floss between his teeth and wrap it in such a way that it forms the shape that resembles a ‘C.’ The floss has to wrap around the base of your kid’s tooth where it touches the gum.
  • Now, he needs to wipe each tooth at least two or three times with an upward movement.
  • Remind your kid that he has to floss on both the sides of each tooth. He also has to floss at the back of the last molar teeth.
  • As your kid keeps flossing each tooth, tell him to use a new part of the floss to prevent any infection from spreading in the mouth.

[ Read: Remedies To Cure Bad Breath In Children ]

Is It Important For Your Kid To Brush Before Bedtime?

Yes, it is important for your kid to brush his teeth right before he goes to bed each night to make sure that his teeth and gums are healthy. Another step to child dental care.

  • Your kid has to make sure that he removes all the leftover traces of food and germs from his teeth before he goes to bed.
  • In case he does not brush right before he is going to sleep, the food particles from his dinner time will remain stuck between his teeth. Food that stays in his mouth will soon give rise to bacteria that will get the entire night to attack and damage his teeth.
  • The constant flow of saliva in your kid’s mouth helps to protect the teeth enamel and prevent dental decay and gum diseases. However, when your kid is sleeping, his mouth will not produce as much saliva as it does while he is awake. Therefore, brushing the teeth before hitting the sack is a must for your kid to enjoy good oral health.

[ Read: Signs of Gum Disease In Children ]

Why Should Your Kid Visit The Dentist?

It is important for your kid to visit the dentist regularly as a preventive measure to keep dental problems at bay. Ideally your kid should be familiar with the idea of regular dental check-ups since the age of one. However, if your kid has not been to a dentist yet, you can schedule an appointment immediately to check for any cavity or other issues related to dental hygiene for kids.

  • The doctor will first do a basic examination of your kid’s teeth and gums and ask some simple questions related to his everyday dental hygiene practices.
  • In case your kid seems to be at a risk of developing cavities, the dentist could recommend the use of a topical fluoride even if all his teeth have not appeared yet. You can ask your dentist to help your kid use it for the first time at the pediatric dental clinic itself. The fluoride will help to strengthen the enamel of your kid’s teeth. It will also help prevent dental cavities, one of the most common oral problems that affect kids during the growing up years.

As your kid grows, speak to the dentist and schedule regular dental appointments. Your dentist will schedule the checkups annually or more often, depending on the overall dental health of your kid.

[ Read: Tips To Deal With Chipped Tooth In Children ]

What If Your Kid Develops A Dental Problem?

Your kid is at a higher risk of suffering from dental problems if you have been prone to developing cavities or any gum disease. In such a situation, even if your kid brushes twice a day and flosses regularly, there is a strong chance that bacteria can still damage his teeth. While there is not much that you can do to prevent it, keep a close eye on your kid’s dental health. In case your kid complains of any pain or sensitivity in his teeth, seek an appointment with a dentist at the earliest. With new technologies in place, pediatric dentists have a wider range of treatment options to choose from for repairing and filling damaged teeth. Depending on the nature of your kid’s dental problem, he may advise the following treatments:

  • Earlier, the dentists used an amalgam for filling most of the cavities. The material was silver in color and was a special mix of various metals. Today, there are many new materials available for dentists to use to take better care of dental caries in kids. One such material that is being used by dentists today to repair the teeth of kids is composite resin. The reason it is becoming so popular with more and more dentists is because it bonds to your kid’s teeth in such a way that it does not let the filling pop out. It can also help to repair any damage to your kid’s teeth that may happen due to an injury or any other health condition such as cleft palate. The other reason for the increasing popularity of composite resin is that it has the same color as your kid’s natural tooth and using it for implants will not create a separate or visible layer on the teeth. It will help your feel more confident as the foreign substance will be barely noticeable to others.
  • The dentist cannot use resin if your kid suffers from a tooth fracture, or his tooth decay is at an advanced stage, or there is a malformation of his teeth. If your kid suffers from any of the above conditions, his dentist will prefer to go for a ceramic or a stainless steel crown instead of using resin. A crown will help to hold your kid’s tooth in place while also making sure that the infection or decay does not spread any further.
  • Sometimes, your kid could be suffering from a dental problem that may require a more complicated corrective procedure. In such a case, the dentist may need to administer your kid a shot of anesthesia. Of course, it is natural for you to get worried or feel confused about whether or not you should go ahead and give permission for it. Make sure that you first speak to your kid’s doctor about any questions, doubts, concerns or fears that you have. Also, make sure that you check that the person who will administer the anesthesia to your kid is an oral surgeon or a trained anesthesiologist. Once you are satisfied, you can give the go-ahead to your kid’s dentist.

[ Read: Tooth Abscess In Children ]

When Will Your Kid Need To Undergo An Orthodontic Treatment?

As your kid grows older and gains his permanent teeth, there may be a problem with their alignment that makes biting difficult. Earlier orthodontic treatments began much later, almost during the teen years, but these days, kids as young as six or seven years receive regular orthodontic treatment and care.

If you feel that orthodontic treatment means putting a set of jarring metal wires and braces in your kid’s mouth, think again. The latest innovations in the orthodontic world helped to do away with the ugly and uncomfortable braces of the past. The new plastic corrective devices are transparent and extremely efficient. Your kid’s dentist will suggest taking any corrective measures at the earliest as manipulating your kid’s teeth will be easier now and will give better results than doing any orthodontic treatment at a later stage. While your kid is young, the dentist will be able to position the cosmetic braces with more ease and by using lesser invasive methods, as compared to what he uses for treating adults.

[ Read: Bruxism In Kids ]

How To Avoid The Need For Orthodontic Treatment?

If your kid is a sports enthusiast, make sure he wears a mouthguard on a regular basis while playing. It will help to prevent any serious injury to his teeth and jaws that would require medical intervention in the form of orthodontic treatment.

Remember, helping your kid develop healthy habits to maintain personal hygiene early on in life can go a long way in safeguarding his health and well-being. As a parent, you are the role model for your kid. Therefore, you should lead by example by brushing and flossing your teeth well.

Did your kid suffer from dental problems? What treatment did the doctor advise? Please share your experience and advice with other moms regarding any dental hygiene for children that is missing here.

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