5 Tips for Good Oral Hygiene of Your Child
When it comes to our children we are like Superman that can run faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. We will just simply sacrifice almost anything for them to ensure they are healthy, safe and happy. However, sometimes we go crazy and worry too much. So, here are the 5 Simple Guide Tips for a good oral health of your children to stop you from going stir crazy.
(1) The First Visit- The ideal age for your child to visit a dentist is around 2 years old. However, it is good that you don't bring them on their first visit when there's already a problem. Children are very impressionable and it is important that they have a fun, non-scary, and no-stress first visit to their dentist. So, it wouldn't be too hard already to bring them for treatment when there's already a problem. Plus, you will not scar them for life in having this subjective fear about going to the dentist.
(2) Oral Hygiene Practice- Some will be surprise to know that as a parent you should initiate the oral hygiene of your child as early as when they are babies and hasn't started yet teething. Just because you don't see they have teeth it doesn't mean they don't exist. As early as the 2nd trimester of your pregnancy tooth buds are already developing and once the baby is born some are already fully-developed in the jaw. It will start to erupt one by one starting within the period of 4-6 mos. So, the first step of oral hygiene for babies is to run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria especially after feeding. I will recommend that you don't make them too full in drinking milk and leave some for water for them to drink to wash away the milk from their mouth.
(3) The Fluoride Issue- As of the moment, there's none yet that is scientifically evidence-base proven that can replace fluoride in preventing caries. Although, some holistic fanatics may disagree on me on that, the fact remains that fluoride is proven to be the most effective material that can strengthen the enamel of the teeth to prevent caries. However, this doesn't mean you will go stir crazy on fluoride or the amount of fluoride toothpaste you will have on your child's toothbrush. Fluoride as the good things it can bring on one's oral health can also be harmful, most particularly on children, if not used properly especially in quantity. Just like steroids which is a double-edge sword when it comes to being helpful, there's a maximum level of dose that fluoride should be in our body and overdoing it will bring more harm than good. In fact, it can actually destroy the very teeth that it's protecting. So, once your baby gets teeth, brush them with an infant toothbrush. Use water and a tiny bit of fluoride toothpaste that is about the size of a grain of rice. Use fluoride toothpaste that carries only the seal of approval of respected organizations such as the American Dental Association. If you are using baby toothpaste without the fluoride, keep it to the same amount because you still want to minimize any toothpaste that is swallowed. Around age 2, your child should learn to spit while brushing. Avoid giving your child water to swish and spit because this might make swallowing toothpaste more likely. At age 3 and above, they should use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Always supervise your child younger than 6 while brushing, as they are more likely to swallow toothpaste. Lastly, but certainly not the least, request for a fluoride varnish from your dentist's child when fluoride treatment is applied after their cleaning. Although, there's nothing wrong with the fluoride material in a tray that it is in your child's mouth for at least a minimum of 60 seconds but it is still far too messy for the child not to swallow some of it and far too short to maximize its effectivity.
(4) Preventive Measures- An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. We may not want to hear or even practice it but I bet you will do that to your child. There are many preventive measures you can do, so, you won't be spending a lot of your hard earned money later on to your dentist because you allowed things to happen to your child since your child is just a child and his/her teeth are just temporary and will be replaced later on. That's the worst thing you can think. The milk teeth of your child is as much important as the permanent teeth. Its condition, alignment and durability are actually some of the factors that will define if your child will need braces in the future. And, this doesn't even include restorations. One of the things you can do is request from your child's dentist to have a thin film of sealant (a resin) to be placed on the pits, fissures and grooves of your child's molars. Second, limit their intake on sugary foods, juices, candy especially sticky gummy candy, gummy vitamins, or fruit leather or "roll-ups" that can erode their tooth's enamel and cause cavities. If your kids eat these foods or the same goes for taking sweetened liquid medicines, have them rinse their mouth or brush their teeth after eating or drinking to wash away the sugar. And, third, when they are around 6 years old have a panoramic x-ray taken, so, your dentist can assess early if all the teeth are developing well as it should and if not, take the proper steps to correct them before it gets worse .
(5) The Habits- As your child grows he or she develops certain habits, this makes him or her unique as an individual person. However, not all habits are good. Watch out for thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting, cheek-biting, lip-biting and all other bad habits that can affect the condition of their teeth. It shouldn't be a cause of much alarm while you slowly get them out of it but the moment it goes beyond the age of 4, you will have to address these habits seriously for it probably even have a serious underlying causes other than just a simple bad habit.
We all hear it before...health is wealth...that includes your child's oral health as it truly affect his or her total well-being. As a parent you don't have to be a superman to take care of your child, you just have to be a loving one.
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