Dental Health & Hygiene for Young Children

Why early childhood dental visits are important

Tooth decay is one of the major dental health problems faced by growing children. Children eat a lot of sugary foods with little or no thought for what it does to their teeth, and many parents assume wrongly that cavities in teeth of growing children don’t matter; after all, they will still lose these teeth down the line.

Unfortunately, tooth decay is as serious for children as it is for adults, and if not properly treated, can lead to future dental health problems.

This is why it makes a lot of sense for your children to start their regular dental checkups on time. You don’t have to wait until a child has gotten to a particular age before taking them to the dentist, because, early checkups can help protect against tooth decay and other forms of dental health issues.

If you want your children to grow up with strong teeth and confident smiles, you should not underestimate the value of early dental visits.

How important are baby teeth?

Baby teeth are as important as the permanent teeth. The baby teeth perform very important functions relating to your child’s development. For example, they help in speech development and hold space for future adult or permanent teeth. Baby teeth also contribute to the beauty of your child’s smile, which can help boost the child’s self confidence and social skills.

Unfortunately, most children suffer from dental health problems at a tender age. In fact, while most adults experience very few cavity issues, cavities in children between the ages of 2 and 5 are on the increase. According to Dr Cecilia Luong of Tiger Smile Family Dentistry, dental cavity is one of the most common diseases affecting little children, but they are preventable.

Early childhood tooth decay and dental cavities occur when you feed children with baby food that contains a high amount of natural sugar before bed. The residue left in the mouth is what leads to cavities.

Protecting your child’s teeth

The best way to ensure that your child has good teeth is by teaching proper dental habits from a tender age. With proper teachings and by setting a good example, your child will learn to adopt good oral hygiene as part of his or her daily health routine.

However, that your child is enthusiastic about dental health does not mean that he or she can brush properly on their own. You will need to supervise and help them so that they can learn how to brush properly, using the right motions, and reaching all the necessary corners.

Teaching your child to brush

As soon as your child develops the first tooth, you should begin the habit of brushing his or her teeth two times a day. Use a child-sized toothbrush with very soft bristles and pea sized fluoride toothpaste.

As your child grows, you can change the size of the brush and amount of toothpaste. There are various toothbrushes designed for children of different ages. Make sure you get the one designed for the age of your child.

Because children can be fussy, chances are your child will not like the taste of the fluoride toothpaste. Thankfully, these days, you can get toothpaste in virtually any flavour, so just take your time to try different good flavours until you discover the one your child is comfortable with.

You should also teach your child not to swallow after brushing. This will be difficult as at this age, children will not want to rinse and spit, but you should discourage them from swallowing as fluoride toothpaste can cause stains on your children’s teeth as they grow.

You may have heard different bits of advice on the best way to brush. Some say the up and down motion is the best way to get the best results, but at the age of your child, they will probably concentrate only on the front teeth and completely ignore the others. At the stage, brushing motion may not matter too much; you will be spending your time encouraging your child to also brush the inner teeth, inside of the mouth, and tongue. Incidentally, your child will not be able to fully brush his or her teeth properly until they are older. It is your responsibility to supervise, and in most cases do the actual brushing, so that they can grow beautiful, healthy, and strong teeth.

Remember, the example you set matters. When your children have seen that you brush your teeth twice daily, they will not hesitate to do the same when you tell them to.