Healthy teeth and good oral hygiene come hand-in-hand, and both are important for everyone regardless of age – even in infants and young kids.
Healthy primary teeth are as valuable as permanent teeth, for they shape the face and help kids chew and speak properly.
Decayed teeth, on the other hand, cause pain and discomfort. They also have a huge impact on the kid’s overall health and development, especially if the discomfort results to difficulty eating.
If left untreated, the decay can spread and damage the permanent teeth underneath, resulting to more painful and costly treatments.
To prevent this, we put up this parent’s guide to help you not just to keep your kid’s teeth healthy and strong, but also to set them up for a lifetime of good oral hygiene.
Teething typically starts at around six to eight months or as late as three years old, and it can last for a year.
As the teeth begin to erupt, the kid may experience some soreness of the gum tissue. This may be relieved by massaging the gums with a clean wet cloth, using a teething ring (but not the liquid-filled one), and asking them to chew on a cold apple.
Feeding them with soft, cold foods like yogurt and applesauce also help. If the soreness becomes too uncomfortable, you may give acetaminophen or better yet, consult a dentist.
And contrary to the popularly belief, high fever is not a symptom of teething. So if your kid experience persistent high fever, consult his/her pediatrician immediately.
At-Home Oral Health Care:
Good oral hygiene should be practiced even before teething begins.
It is recommended for parents that as soon as the kid is born, the gum tissue should be wiped with a clean wet cloth every after feeding to prevent build-up of bacteria.
Then, as the baby teeth starts to erupt one by one and the kid gets old enough, toothbrushing may be instituted.
At first, you will have to guide them until they can brush by themselves – at about age 7 or 8.
Brushing should be done twice a day for approximately two minutes long, paying attention especially to the molar teeth where decay often develops.
Flossing is also advised to prevent tooth decay in-between teeth. This should be done once the teeth begin to touch each other.
Professional Oral Health Care:
Aside from at-home care, you should also take your kid to the dentist regularly as soon as the first baby tooth erupts or at age 1 – whichever comes first.
Even without tooth decay or other dental problems, dental visits are important for consultation and patient education as well as for availing preventive treatments such as cleaning, sealants, and topical fluoride application.
Fluoride treatment on regular intervals may be necessary to make the teeth stronger and more resistant to tooth decay.
Parents have an important role in their kid’s dental health. They should teach their kids the importance of oral hygiene as early as possible.
And would be the best way to do that than to lead by example; demonstrate to your kid how it should be done while also repeatedly emphasizing how oral health affects general health and overall quality of life.