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Medical Article

Dental Hygiene in Children

Tooth decay is also known as cavity or dental crisis. Tooth decay isn’t a problem that affects only adults, it’s a common dental problem among children worldwide. Inadequate dental care cause softening of the tooth enamel cover due to acid formed by the bacteria in the mouth. The tooth enamel covers outer layer of each tooth and plays a key role in protecting teeth from decay.

Care for babies’ teeth


Baby teeth develop while babies are still in the womb. Though babies do not have teeth when they are born, there is a full set of 20 baby teeth hidden in their gums i.e., ten teeth in upper jaw and ten teeth in the lower jaw. Most baby teeth appear between 6 and 10 months. In some children, teeth appear as early as 3 months. In some, rare cases children are born with 1-2 teeth.

Many parents do not give much attention to their child’s milk teeth as they will be replaced by permanent teeth in long haul. Healthy teeth and gums are vital for children’s general health because milk teeth preserve space for the permanent ones and help babies to chew and talk. Good dental care start even before the first baby teeth arrives. If not cared properly, teeth will be decayed and cause gum infection called gingivitis, which affect the spacing of permanent teeth.

Begin cleaning baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or wash cloth. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 month of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months. Clean baby’s teeth once a day when your baby’s last feed for the day is over.

This will wash off bacteria and prevent them from clinging to gums. Take wet gauze or soft infant toothbrush meant for children less than two years of age and gently brush with water, after the first and last feed.

If you have to send your baby to bed or nap with a bottle or sippy cup, fill it with water only. Also avoid putting anything sweet-such as sugar or honey in your babies pacifier. Try to avoid giving your baby a bottle in bed during the night because bottle feeding in bed can cause danger of choking, as babies who sleep while bottle-feeding risk taking liquid into their lung.

Care for Toddlers teeth


Passing on good oral habits to your child is one of the most important lessons you can give them.  Regular dental visits should start from 6 months after your child’s first tooth appears or when they are about 1 year old. Early dental visits help to identify if there is any dental problem and also reduce fear about dentist. It is recommended to take your child to pedodontist, the dental professional specializes in treating children’s dental problems.

Tips for Child’s good dental health
Clean your child’s teeth twice a day, including once before bed.
Use a small tooth brush with soft, round-ended bristles of different length.
Use small amount of low-flouride tooth paste because children usually swallow the paste.
Change toothbrush every three months. Usually children tend to bite the bristles and you may have to change it often.
Introduce healthy meals to develop taste for those foods before they eat sugar.
Lots of sugary food and drink, tops up the level of acid in the mouth of toddler, so try to keep sweets, cakes, chocolates and other high sugar snacks to a minimum, especially between meals, as they can cause tooth decay. Encourage them to brush their teeth each time they take in such foods.

Care for Preschoolers’ teeth


Children don’t like having their teeth brushed, so you may have to keep trying. Make it into a game, or brush your own teeth at the same time and help your child finish their own.

Few dental care habits for pre-schooling children
Train your child brush in the morning and before bedtime. Brush the teeth in small circle, and encourage your child to spit the toothpaste out afterwards.
Encourage your child to rinse their mouth after every meal and snacks to avoid sticky foods attached to the surface of the teeth.
Give awareness about oral health and teach them about its benefit.
Stop children’s thumb sucking habit and avoid using pacifier

Care for school going children’s teeth


It is important to look after your first and your permanent teeth. Clean and healthy mouth prevents diseases, infection, looks good, feels nice and keeps child breath fresh.

For healthy teeth and gums school going children has to follow certain dental practices such as:

Encourage the kids to brush twice a day.

Use small amount of regular adult-strength fluoride toothpaste and brush that has been designed for children. Teach your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.

Enhanced use of high calcium foods such as cheese, milk, yoghurt, leafy greens and almonds are lifeline of the tooth. Protein-rich, phosphorous containing foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs play a crucial role in teeth enamel building. Avoid sugary foods, juices, candy that can erode enamel and cause cavities.

Children should have seen an oral health professional by the time they go to school.

To minimize the risk of germs, rinse the toothbrush and allow it to air dry after every use.