Dental care is an essential, yet sometimes neglected, aspect of a kid?s overall health. Tooth decay affects in excess of one-fourth of U.S. children aged 2-5 and half of those aged 12-15. The key to effective brushing habits in kids is to start an oral health care program early itself. Good oral hygiene habits should be insisted as early as infancy and constant right through the life. This ensures that kids are not infected with cavities or gingivitis.
The American Dental Association advises parents to start cleaning their baby’s mouth the first few days after birth. Healthy teeth and gums in kids are important for proper chewing of food and clarity of speech. Parents should schedule regular oral health appointments starting around the child’s first birthday. A pediatric dentist may be more suited to your child’s needs during the early years. After each meal the baby’s gums should be wiped with a wet washcloth. This is helpful in removing plaque that accumulates on the gums. When the baby’s teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush using a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
Parents should encourage the kids to spit out the toothpaste at a young age. The other alternative for young children is to use non-fluoridated toothpaste, until they are spitting the toothpaste out. Kids require supplemental fluoride after they are six months old to help prevent cavities. At the age of two or three, parents can begin to teach their kids proper brushing techniques. Parents will need to follow up with brushing and gentle flossing until the age of eight or nine, till the child develops the capability to do it all alone.
An early visit to the dentist can educate you about your child?s oral health and proper hygiene, including avoiding nighttime bottles, proper brushing, and a diet that promotes good dental health. Parents must emphasize the importance of good, healthy eating habits and teach children how to eat properly.