Today I will be giving you tips on how to take care of your baby and kids’ teeth for them to have healthier mouth!
It’s never too soon to introduce children to the importance of teeth and mouth care. By setting a good example and establishing a routine early, you will be laying the foundations for a lifetime of good oral health. Oral care for babies and kids are different for different stages of their life.
Stage 1 (0-6 months)
Oral care can start before your baby has any teeth, milk and food can leave deposits on the gums allowing the buildup of bacteria that gives the bacteria food. Then after taking in breast milk, the breast milk will stick to the surface, allowing more bacteria to stick on. With the bacteria consuming the food remnants, they will release acid as their by-products. This acid will lead to white spot lesions (early stage of tooth decay) – and if not cared for, will lead to even more severe tooth decay.
So it is very important to wipe/ brush your baby’s teeth after each meal and after feeding. To clean your baby’s gums wrap a piece of gauze around your finger and using cool boiled water use small circular movements to very gently wipe around your baby’s gums and teeth. You can also use a silicone finger toothbrush to clean their gums and mouth. No toothpaste should be used for baby less than 18months old.
Stage 2 (6 months to 3 years)
Baby teeth can start to appear as early as four months. Some parents may think care of baby teeth isn’t too important as they will eventually be replaced with adult teeth. However, adult teeth are already developing in the jaw and baby teeth preserve the spacing for adult teeth. If first teeth aren’t cared for, tooth decay and gum disease could occur and cause problems later on.
This is also the weaning stage (around 1 year old) when babies move from a milk only diet towards solid food and other kinds of drinks. Now is the time to start good habits by ensuring that your baby or toddler isn’t eating sugary foods; bottles and cups containing fruit juice, soft or fizzy drinks are a definite no.
Follow these tips to take care of baby teeth as soon as they emerge:
- With a baby or toddler it is easy to sit them on your lap with their head resting on your chest.
- Using a soft brush and a tiny smear of 1000ppm fluoride toothpaste is suitable for this age group (18months- 3yrs).
- Use small circles to gently brush all surfaces of the teeth and massage the gums.
- Spitting after brushing should be encouraged rather than rinsing with water. Rinsing will wash away the fluoride from the toothpaste and it won’t be effective.
- You can start dental checkups for your baby at about 6 months, when baby teeth begin to appear.
Stage 3 (3 – 6 years)
By this age all baby teeth should be present. Children don’t find the coordination to brush their own teeth until the age of about 7 or 8. So you will still need to brush your child’s teeth. At this age it is easiest to stand behind your child and tilt their head back, this way you will get a better view of all their teeth.
Increase the amount of 1000ppm toothpaste to a pea sized amount. Using a small, soft toothbrush gently clean all surfaces of all teeth and gums. Now is a good time to introduce flossing to the routine, but only if you feel your child is ready. Ensure your child is having regular dental checkups.
From the age of about seven or eight, children should be able to brush their own teeth. You may need to help at first by holding the brush in their hand and showing them what to do and then they will need to be supervised for a while afterwards too. They can learn how to use the modified bass technique. And a pea size of 1450ppm adult toothpaste is recommended for them. Spit out after brushing. Ensure that you brush your baby or child’s teeth twice a day. Use an egg timer to encourage brushing for two minutes.
Here are 5 quick summary points from the AAPD regarding on how to prevent early decay in your kids’ teeth:
- Don not put baby to sleep with bottle and avoid night breastfeeding after 1st baby tooth comes out.
- Babies should be weaned from bottle at 12-14 months age.
- Frequent consumption of any liquid-containing fermentable carbohydrates from a bottle or non-spill training cup should be avoided.
- Start teeth care as soon as the 1st baby tooth comes out.
- Recommend to have oral health checkup at 12 months of age to educate parents and provide anticipatory guidance for prevention of dental diseases.
Hopefully by educating your child and encouraging good habits at an early age, your child will look forward to a lifetime of a healthy mouth, teeth and gums. Hope the information above helps you in some ways.