It is necessary for a child’s health and growth that care be taken of his/her oral hygiene. Eating healthy food, regular cleaning of teeth and gums and visits to dentist play an important role in a child’s development. Children should be taught and supervised the way to brush their teeth properly till they are at least 7 years of age. Healthy gums and teeth not only help children in chewing food but also in speaking clearly. Baby teeth make spaces for adult teeth so it’s good to start right at the right time.
Good Oral Hygiene
Brush your child’s teeth, using a soft toothbrush, with a good toothpaste containing fluoride twice a day; once after breakfast and once before bedtime. Brush teeth from all sides. Lift the lip to brush at the gum line of front teeth. Floss your child’s teeth where required. Ask your child’s dentist to guide you. Also clean the tongue with tongue cleaners and use mouthwash for cleaning the mouth.
Healthy Food for Healthy Teeth
Give your child healthy food like fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, dairy products, lean meat, fish, egg, beans etc. Junk food, sugary foods, sweets and candy are not good for your child’s teeth and should be avoided. (learn more about healthy eating in our healthy eating articles).
Do not give your child a milk bottle, juice, any sweet or carbonated drinks at bed time. After brushing his/her teeth at night, only give plain water and nothing else. Do not use pacifiers dipped in honey or sweet foods. Your child should start taking milk in a cup by the age of 2 years so it’s a good idea to introduce the cup between 12-14 months. Give your child 100 percent juice only; without sugar and preservatives. Give your child water several times a day.
Give your child limited amount of sweets such as candies, cookies or cakes. Avoid giving him/her drinks with added sugar as much as possible. If you do need to offer it, give them only at meal times and brush your child’s teeth after that.
As a general practice, reward your child with a big smile or hug instead of candies and junk food.
Check your child’s teeth and gums once a month. Look for white spots. If you see white spots, take your child to a dentist right away. A check up with a dentist is recommended every 4-6 months for good oral health of your child.