Dental Hygiene for Kids
Proper dental hygiene is an important foundational step of general oral hygiene and well-being. Taking proper care of your teeth can be extremely beneficial as it keeps germs, oral and dental diseases at bay. Also, proper dental hygiene provides greater longevity to your teeth, gums, and tongue. So it is important to practice proper dental hygiene methods at young ages. Practising good dental hygiene for kids can help them stay clear of cavities and gum problems among other dental diseases. This provides a framework for good dental hygiene for kids, from their infancy until their pre-teen years, throughout their lifetime.
Good Dental Hygiene for Infants
The first primary teeth emerge after 6 to 9 months after the child’s birth and by the time the child is around 3 years of age, he or she will have all of their primary teeth, which is about 20 in total. But even before the first tooth erupts, it is extremely important to practice good dental hygiene habits. This would ensure that the gums are healthy and would ensure better tooth growth. Some steps to ensure proper dental hygiene for infants include –
- Making sure to wipe the infant’s mouth and gums after every feeding session to prevent germ build up around the gums.
- Once an infant gets a tooth, proper brushing habits should be introduced using a baby toothbrush and baby or training toothpaste.
- Brushing should be performed two times in a day, preferably in the morning before breakfast and at night before sleep. All surfaces of the teeth should be brushed and the tongue should be cleaned as well.
- Proper care must be taken to ensure that the bottle is taken away as soon as the infant finishes feeding as keeping the bottle in the mouth for longer periods of time can induce tooth decay and weaken the teeth significantly.
- A complete dental check-up should also be done within the first year of the child’s birth to have an overall check on the dental health of the infant and to pinpoint issues, if any.
Good Dental Hygiene for Children
As infants grow, their dental habits should also evolve. Starting at age 3, an enhanced dental hygiene regime should be introduced to ensure that kids are free from dental problems. Between preschool and pre-teen, this age group is the most susceptible to dental diseases. It is also during this period that the primary or milk teeth start to fall off and the permanent teeth grows to take its place. Some proper dental habits during this period include –
- Making sure to introduce a hard rule of brushing at least two times per day, once after waking up in the morning and once after the last meal of the day, before heading to sleep. They should also use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste during this time and should spit it out completely after brushing instead of swallowing.
- Proper flossing habits should also be inculcated to ensure that food bits are not stuck between the teeth. They should also be reminded to brush their back teeth properly
- A visit to the dentist should be scheduled every six months to catch any dental problems early on.
Good Dental Hygiene for Pre-teens
Older children, or pre-teens, should be encouraged to practice good dental hygiene as they tend to slack off and lose interest in this period. Dental habits at this age group are extremely similar to the habits they practiced during their childhood. Some proper dental habits during this period include –
- To ensure that they do not lose interest in dental hygiene, reminders can be given about the need to maintain proper dental habits for a better appearance and overall “feel good” factor.
- Ensuring that they brush for two minutes and touch every part of their teeth using their brush, especially the teeth at the back of the mouth. It would help in overall teeth protection as well as help them maintain fresher breath.
- Flossing should be mandated as particles stuck between the teeth can cause cavities and also lead to bad breath.
- Encouraging the use of mouth guards during sports to prevent teeth injuries.
- Making sure kids with braces floss and brush their teeth thoroughly to prevent discoloration.
Kids are impressionable, and these steps would only be interesting to kids when they see the elders around them following the same habits. It is very important that you, the care giver, also practice proper dental hygiene habits. All these steps would ensure good dental hygiene for kids.
The NC Pediatric Dentistry is a network of local dental offices committed to providing the best dental experience for kids, which is both safe yet enjoyable for them. We use the best quality products and provide an overall kid-friendly atmosphere.