Why Is Dental Care So Important for kids?
The foundation for healthy permanent teeth in children and teenagers is laid during the first years of life. Poor diet, poor habits of food intake and inadequate toothbrushing habits during the first 2 years of life have been shown in several studies to be related to tooth decay in children. The development of caries in primary teeth further increases the risk of developing caries in permanent teeth.
Therefore it is essential to establish a proper oral hygiene routine early in life to help ensure the development of strong and healthy teeth
BAD ORAL HABITS IN KIDS
- Not visiting the Dentist
There is a belief among many parents that kids have to see a dentist only when their child experiences a dental problem. Like adults children should visit the dentist every six months and if they are at risk of tooth decay, the dentist may suggest more frequent visits.
- Swallowing Toothpaste after Brushing
Children are taught very early on that brushing their teeth is necessary for good teeth because of fluoride, which is a natural defense against cavity. Sometimes dentists may even recommend fluoride supplements, if there is not enough fluoride in the water system, starting at six months old. But since the gooey toothpaste tastes good, kids often end up swallowing it as if it were candy. Parents mistakenly think this is harmless but it is important to teach your kid that it is a bad dental habit. Excessive intake of fluoride through swallowing toothpaste can cause brown or white spots on the child’s teeth called fluorosis.
- Sucking Their Thumb
For babies and small children, the most common habit that parents have to deal with is thumb sucking. Many parents mistakenly assume they have to wait for their child to outgrow the habit. However if no steps are taken to discourage your child from thumb sucking, then it will cause misalignment of the teeth by shifting them forward. This can lead to later problems with speech, pronunciation, difficulty chewing, and cleaning. For most children it may require orthodontic treatment to correct the concern.
- Giving Pacifiers to Preschoolers
Sucking on a pacifier is just as bad as thumb sucking. While giving a pacifier to a baby is a perfectly normal and healthy habit, if it continues into the toddler years, the habit becomes hard to break. Also, a pacifier use can also be bad for your child’s oral health by hindering normal tooth and jaw development. Your child should discontinue use a pacifier by about age 1, in the best interest of oral health later.
- Taking a Bottle to Bed
You should never allow your kids to go to bed with a bottle full of milk or juice. The sugars in these drinks cause havoc on the enamel of teeth leading to dental decay and discolored teeth as they get older. This is referred to as ‘bottle mouth’ by some dentists, which is pitted and discolored teeth from night time bottle feeding.
Oral Hygiene Instructions for kids to keep cavities away:
- Inculcate the habit of Oral Hygiene since they are young- As parents you might think the kid is too young, but the fact is it is never too early to inculcate the necessary oral habits in kids. Basic rules like brushing the teeth twice daily and practicing the right technique of brushing can save them from dental problems.
- Once the kid starts getting his permanent teeth, visit the dentist, and he might be able to teach your kid the need to follow proper dental hygiene like brushing twice a day, washing the mouth properly and flossing.
- If the kid wears a brace, the kid can carry a small dental kit with him wherever he goes.
- Using toothpaste that contains fluoride will help in making the enamel strong and protect the teeth against cavities.
- From the very starting do not let the kid have unhealthy foods. Sugary and sticky foods like chocolates, candies, fizzy drinks, and packed juices might cause maximum damage to the kid’s dental health.
- In India, we are not accustomed to the habit of flossing, but ask the dentist to teach your kid the right way to floss the teeth regularly.
- It is highly important for the kid to brush before bedtime. It helps in removing the leftover food traces and germs from the mouth. In case the kid does not do this regularly, the food articles might remain stuck between his teeth causing bacteria.