Dental care for children is often neglected. It is extremely important as poor dental care during childhood can result in dental problems that are carried over into adulthood, plaguing our adult population with many of the dental problems they face today.
Early Dental Visits
Early dental visits, when a child is as young as two years old, enable the child used to the dental clinic – equipment and procedures – thus reducing his/her fear of the dentist.
Regular visits will also help in the formation of good dental habits that are essential for good oral health and allow your general dentist to identify developing problems. Early intervention in children with jaw growth and teeth discrepancies will help improve their teeth alignment and aesthetics, and minimize the need or extent of braces treatment in future.
– Do not give your baby or young child a bottle of formula, milk or fruit juice to go to sleep with, or to suck on for a long time during the day. The sugar in milk and fruit juice can lead to decay if it is in the baby’s mouth for a lot of time. Plain tap water is best for babies after 6 months of age.
– Don’t leave the bottle in your baby’s mouth while baby is asleep.
– Don’t put anything sweet on a baby’s dummy.
– Lift your child’s top lip once a month to look for early signs of tooth decay. Early signs of tooth decay look like white chalky lines near the gum line or brown spots.
– Start cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as they appear in the mouth. Clean the teeth with a small, soft toothbrush.
– Brush the teeth twice a day – after breakfast and last thing before going to sleep at night.
– Parents need to supervise the use of toothpaste and tooth brushing by their young children. Children do not have the skills needed to fully clean their own teeth until they are 8 to 9 years old.
– You need to put the toothpaste on yourself until the children can do it properly.
– Fluoride is found naturally in food and water and is added to most water supplies and many oral care products such as mouth rinse and toothpastes.
– Using pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day is a very effective way of reducing tooth decay.
- Teach children to spit out the toothpaste after using fluoride toothpaste.
- Don’t swallow. Swallowing the toothpaste may cause them to get too much fluoride.
- Don’t rinse. Fluoride can go on protecting the teeth for some time after brushing if the toothpaste is not rinsed out of the mouth.