We know how important Dental Hygiene is and hence we at Sharing Our Experiences connected with Dr. Surbhi Maheshwari, BDS. Dr. Maheshwari has shared below best practices for oral dental hygiene in children.
A healthy smile begins from childhood
Parents are always excited about different milestones of their children and one of them is the emergence of teeth in the babyâ€™s mouth. As a new parent, you must be wondering when to start brushing your little one’s teeth and take care of their oral hygiene. It is very important to inculcate the habit of brushing and maintaining proper oral hygiene from childhood itself for establishing good dental habits.
Many of us think that milk teeth are not that important as they will eventually fall out. Looking after baby teeth is as important as looking after their adult teeth. Decayed milk teeth will hamper speech development, good nutrition and also affect the permanent teeth as the milk teeth guide the adult teeth to come in the proper position.
In this blog, I would like to share some tips for proper dental care in kids how and when to begin with brushing, what kind of toothbrush and toothpaste to be used, what to do when a child refuses to brush, good oral hygiene habits, nutrition, and oral health.
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When To Start Brushing Baby’s Teeth
This question comes to the mind of many parents – when is the right time to start brushing the teeth of their little ones.
Before a child has teeth: Cleaning of gums and tongue after feedings should be done before the first tooth pops out to fight bacterial growth and promote good oral health. Gently clean the gums with a soft damp clean cloth or a wet gauze pad or a soft silicone finger brush. (Check out the best rated finger brushes by clicking here )
After the child has the first tooth: As soon as the first tooth makes its grand entrance which can be at 6 months or maybe a bit later brushing of the tooth should be started.
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How To Brush Baby’s Teeth
Cleaning newborn mouth and tongue: Gently clean the gums with a soft damp clean cloth or a wet gauze pad or a soft silicone finger brush (check bestselling finger brushes by clicking here ).
Cleaning when the tooth pops out: Brushing to be done with a moistened soft silicone finger brush or with no more than rice grain size smear of fluoridated toothpaste or fluoride-free toothpaste for children under three years of age. For children, 3 to 6 years of age use a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
(Note: No toothpaste is necessary until the age of 2 unless recommended by your dentist).
Good Dental Routine for Kids
- Make the habit of brushing twice daily for two minutes at a time.
- Brushing before bedtime is necessary as bacteria tend to grow more due to less flow of saliva during sleep which leads to accumulation of plaque(sticky film on teeth containing millions of bacteria) causing tooth decay.
- Help your child to angle his/her mouth down so the toothpaste can dribble in the sink
- Encourage them to spit out the paste when they are able to do so.
- Remind them not to swallow the paste.
Use of Fluoride Toothpaste for Kids
Fluoride is a natural mineral found in all water sources. It is also added in community tap waters, toothpaste, and mouth rinse solutions. Fluoride in toothpaste is important to prevent tooth decay and helps in remineralization.
Be cautious while using fluoridated toothpaste in kids under the age of 6 as they tend to swallow the paste more rather than spitting it out. Under the age of 2 use no more than a rice grain size smear and children aged 3-6 years use a pea-sized amount.
Occasional swallowing of toothpaste wonâ€™t be a problem but if they swallow more than a pea-sized amount they might have an upset tummy. Giving the child milk or other dairy products is recommended as calcium tends to bind with fluoride. Regular swallowing of larger amounts will lead to enamel decay and cause dental fluorosis which leads to white stains on teeth. Because of this many dentists recommend using fluoride-free toothpaste until the age of 2.
People have started looking for more natural options these days. If you are one of those you can choose a toothpaste that has natural ingredients in it. You can click here to check out this brand they claim that they use 100% natural ingredients.
Never let the child apply toothpaste on their own. Keep the toothpaste out of reach of children. Adult supervision is always required while brushing.
Which Toothbrush To Use?
Before the baby has teeth use a damp washcloth or soft silicone finger brush to clean the gums that will help to wipe away the bacteria from their gums and create a healthy environment for growing teeth.
When the first tooth appears use a soft silicone finger brush or tiny baby toothbrush without toothpaste or with no more than a rice grain size smear of fluoride-free toothpaste or fluoridated toothpaste unless recommended by your dentist under the age of 2.
Click here to check more information about this Silicone fingerbrush set.
By the age of two, your child would want to try a hand on brushing himself though they wonâ€™t be able to do it properly due to lack of proper motor control but do let them try and you can assist them in cleaning effectively towards the end.
Use a smaller head-size brush for a small mouth and a larger one for a slightly bigger mouth. Check out this brush set by luv lap, it has great reviews. For toddlers try to choose a brush with soft bristles, a small brush head, and a handle they can grip with ease.
For best deal and other offers click here
There are multiple brands available in the market which offers you variety in colors, style of handle, the size of the head of the brush, from which you can choose according to your own preference, although I have put forth the best available and loved brands in this post.
Toothbrush With Your Child’sFavourite Characters
When nothing comes to rescue, take help from the superheroes or your child’s favourite cartoon character. Children are fond of superheroes or other animated characters, when my son saw his Superman toothbrush he would want to brush all day long. So, getting your child a new toothbrush with their favourite character is worth a try, especially if they are fussy and reluctant to brush.
Batman Toothbrush for Kids – Colgate Battery powered toothbrush
An affordable battery-operated toothbrush by Colgate, especially for kids above the age of 3. Comes with extra soft bristles providing gentle yet effective cleaning. The brush has a small oscillating head to fit your kidâ€™s small mouth for power cleaning
Click here to check the latest offers and deals on this.
Faber Castell 360 Charcoal Slimsoft Bristles 2 Toothbrush & 2 Kids Spider-men Toothbrush-family pack
Colgate Kids Spiderman toothbrush comes with your childâ€™s favorite super-hero to make brushing exciting and fun, specially designed for kids of ages 5 years and above, the extra soft bristles of this brush work gently on their developing teeth and gums. This is a set of 4 brushes (2 charcoal slimsoft bristles brush & 2 Kids Spiderman Toothbrush) Check out the latest deal here
Colgate Kids Barbie Toothbrush Pack of 3 with a Tongue cleaner
Barbie Toothbrush is a fun way to encourage good oral care habits early on! This attractive extra-soft bristle toothbrush has extra soft bristles especially designed for children.
Click here to check amazing offers on toothbrushes.
Peppa Pig Toothbrush for Kids
This is a flashlight brush with extra soft bristles, comes with a rinsing cup and hygiene cap. This can make a very good gifting option too.
Click here to check this one of its kind toothbrush set.
What Do You Do When your Child Refuses to Brush Their Teeth?
Every child might not want to clean their teeth and when the baby is teething the gums are tender and sore and hence they might resist. Here is what you can do to make the process more interesting:
- Modeling can play a great role. You can make it a family routine of brushing together. Once they see you brushing in front of them they will also participate and enjoy,
- You can sing along rhymes and songs related to the importance of brushing or make versions of old rhymes (something in the lines of â€˜Mary had a little brush or Brush, Brush, Brush your teeth to the tune of Row, Row, Row your boat ) or you can make up a story,
- You can take your child to the store and let them choose the brush on their own may be one of their favorite character or cartoon which will make his/her brushing time more exciting.
- Consider using an electronic toothbrush to make brushing time more fun and also most of them have set a timer for two minutes which will ensure that they are brushing their teeth for that much time,
- Rewarding them for their persistence and progress in brushing their own teeth can motivate and encourage them.
Books about Brushing Teeth
Not many children enjoy brushing their teeth. If your child is the one who detests brushing, you can get him a book with illustrations that shows why brushing is important.
The Teeth Bugs And The Bunny
A fun book that shares a bunny’s story of getting his strong and beautiful teeth back.
Check more about this book and current amazon offer by clicking here
Why Should I Brush My Teeth
Great book from the Usborne lift-the-flap series. Perfect to encourage your little one to start brushing his/her teeth.
For reviews and price of this awesome book, click here
The Tooth Book
Like Other Dr. Seuss books, it is a funny yet interesting book that talks about importance of teeth and how to take care of them
Check out the latest price for this book- click here
Follow Good Oral Hygiene Habits
Incorporate these habits in your child and yourself:
- Brush in the morning.
- Brush in the night before going to bed.
- Brush for two minutes at a time.
- Clean along all the surfaces of all the teeth and along the gum line.
- Teach your child how to floss once they are able to do so.
- Change your childâ€™s toothbrush every three months or once the bristles become frayed.
- Reduce intake of sugary food and drinks(Consumption of too much sugar from cakes, cookies, milk, candies, ice creams, and other sugary beverages can lead to tooth decay).
- Visiting a dentist every six months for a routine dental check-up or more frequently depending on the oral health status of your child.
How To maintain good oral health – Nutrition and Oral Health
As a parent, you can choose the best foods for your childâ€™s teeth and teach them about healthy choices. Children need to eat healthy to keep decay away from their teeth.
Tips to Make Food Choices that are Tooth-Friendly
- Avoid sugary foods (cakes, chocolates, candies), acidic foods, beverages (soda, soft drinks, flavoured drinks)and junk food. Sugar and bacteria on teeth combine together and form acid which eventually results in tooth decay and cavities.
- Give them high fibre fruits and vegetables which helps in removing plaque from teeth like apple, carrots.
- Green leafy vegetables are good for teeth enamel.
- Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, broccoli are a good source of calcium which strengthens and build strong teeth.
- Offer fruits and vegetables as snacks instead of carbohydrates. Limit the number of snacks during a day to one or two.
- Never put baby to bed with a bottle filled with milk, formula, juice, soda.
When to Schedule Child’s First Dental Visit
Schedule your visit to a pediatric dentist when the first teeth erupt (should be between six months to a yearsâ€™ time). It might sound early but keeping milk teeth healthy is important as your childâ€™s rear teeth would stay till he/she is 10-12 years old. Donâ€™t wait for any emergency.
Things to Keep in Mind Before a Dental Visit
- Talk to your child about visiting the dentist to make the visit more comfortable and positive.
- If possible take morning appointments when the child is relaxed, rested, and more cooperative.
- Never bribe your child.
- Never use a dental visit as a punishment or threat.
Preparing for Your First Dental Visit
In the first visit, the dentist will examine your childâ€™s mouth, growth, and development and also make the child comfortable and positive about the visit.
In the first visit the dentist will check about
- Your family dental history (history of cavities in the family),
- Is the child sleeping with a bottle in his/her mouth or using pacifiers.
- Finger or Thumb sucking habits.
- Any oral injuries.
- Advice on daily oral care.
Regular dental examinations should be a part of your childâ€™s overall health and hygiene plan.
✅ Best Toothpaste for Kids
Colgate Toothpaste for Kids (0-2 years), Natural Fruit Flavour, Fluoride Free- 70g Tube
Colgate Toothpaste for Kids (3-5 years), Natural Strawberry Flavour, 0% Artificial- 80g Tube
Pediflor Kidz Green Apple Flavour Toothpaste
Hello Oral Care Kids Fluoride-Free and Toothpaste, Natural Watermelon 4.2 Oz
Mamaearth 100% Natural Berry Blast Kids Toothpaste 50 Gm, Fluoride Free, SLS Free, No Artificial Flavours, Best for Baby
Pigeon Children Toothpaste Orange, 45gms
Mee Mee Flouride-Free Toothpaste
DentoShine Gel Toothpaste for Kids – Assorted Flavors (Bubble Gum, Mango, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry, Watermelon)
Is your child using the right toothbrush?
Our little children are delicate and so are their gums, important care must be taken while choosing toothbrushes for smaller children. The bristles must be soft and handle the right size and thickness.
✅ Best Toothbrush for kids
Here are some of the dentist-recommended toothbrushes for your little one.
Mee Mee Unique Tooth & Gum Cleaning Finger Brush
Oral B Kids Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush, Featuring Star Wars Characters
This toothbrush makes brushing teeth fun by featuring Disney characters and 2 minutes Disney magic timer, it is efficient in removing more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush.
Aquawhite™ Peppa Pig Flash Light Kids Toothbrush with Hygiene Cap & Rinsing Cup
This is a cool Set and it comes with premium ultrasoft bristles ensuring deep cleaning and gentle action. A brush head that fits the kid`s mouth comfortably. It has easy to grip colorful handles. It is a complete dental set comprising a brush, rinsing cup, and a hygiene cap.
Colgate MAGIK Augmented Reality based Toothbrush
COLGATE MAGIK is a new Augmented Reality Toy designed to teach your kids the correct ways of brushing. Using its dedicated app, your child can play engaging and interactive games for kids and use creative filters, all while learning how to brush their teeth correctly.
The box Contains one manual soft bristles toothbrush, MAGIK connector, Phone holder, Free App, An instruction manual
Mee Mee Easy Grip Baby Toothbrush, Blue, Pack of 3
This toothbrush set is perfect for little toddlers who are beginning to have a grip on things and trying to do everything independently.
Oral-B Kids Toothbrush, Extra Soft
Extrasoft bristles for a gentle yet thorough cleaning. End-Rounded Bristles are gentle on teeth and gums. Attractive design with Captain Oral-B
Jordan Step 1 Baby Toothbrush, 0-2 Years, Extra Soft Bristles, BPA Free Gentle to Babies
Jordan Step 1 Baby toothbrush has a small head with soft bristles. Small children can have irritated gums, and therefore the handle of the toothbrush can also be used as a teething ring. The short neck of the toothbrush prevents the toothbrush to go too far into the mouth.
Jordan Children 3-5 Years Kids toothbrush with Sand Timer BPA Free toothbrush (Yellow – 3-5 Years)
Jordan Step 2 toothbrush is tailor-made to brush children’s smaller milk teeth. Designed with soft bristles, a small but wide head and a dual handle for both parents and kids, makes brushing easier.
Team SOE thanks Dr.Surabhi Maheshwari -BDS for such an informative post.
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