Proper dental care is crucial for maintaining healthy teeth. Mostly, we learn healthy and unhealthy habits in our families, and when we become parents, it becomes our responsibility to teach our kids how to take care of their teeth. Below are important tips for preserving your child’s oral health.
1. Teach children oral hygiene from the first tooth
When the baby’s teeth begin to erupt, wipe them with a special napkin soaked in xylitol. With the appearance of more teeth, you can start introducing the baby to a toothbrush. They should get used to brushing their teeth two times a day, in the morning after breakfast and in the evening before bed.
When the child is one year old, it is necessary to bring the baby to a consultation with a kids dentist so that they can teach him the correct technique of brushing his teeth and pick the proper toothpaste and a toothbrush. It is better for the brush to be soft so it will not injure the sensitive mucous membrane, colored (motivation to brush), and have a handle that will be comfortable for both child and mother.
Remember to clean the interdental spaces. In children older than three years, the most common localization of tooth decay is contact surfaces. That is why, starting from this age, it is necessary to learn to clean the interdental spaces of the child with the help of special flosses.
2. Proper nutrition
Normalization of the diet is one of the main tasks of parents who want to ensure the health of their child’s teeth.
After eating food, especially containing carbohydrates, an acidic environment forms in the oral cavity. In the conditions of an acidic environment, mineral components are washed out of the enamel, which can cause the beginning of the carious process. Saliva has the beneficial property of restoring the pH of the oral fluid to normal, thus stopping the processes of enamel demineralization and enhancing its remineralization.
Taking into account the above-mentioned features, it is possible to conclude that the appearance of caries is more influenced not by the amount of carbohydrates eaten per day but by the frequency of their use. Therefore, the recommendations regarding the use of carbohydrates are as follows:
- Reduce snacks to a minimum while excluding snacks with light carbohydrates (cookies, candies, rolls, bagels, corn sticks, etc.);
- The minimum amount of time between meals should be at least three hours;
- Give a child sweets only for dessert after the main meal. In this case, you can adjust the amount of sweets at your discretion. If the child eats one candy or ten candies for dessert and then does not eat sweets until dinner, then in both cases it will not affect dental health
- Exclude drinking sweet liquids between meals because it is equivalent to snacking on carbohydrates. Sweet liquids mean everything except water and tea without sugar or honey.
- Products that are good for teeth include fermented milk products, green vegetables (broccoli, zucchini, parsley, spinach), fish, nuts, and butter.
3. No drinks except water at night
After stopping breastfeeding at night, do not give children anything to drink except water. The use of other liquids leads to the development of tooth decay.
4. Use mouthwash
Usually, children start using mouthwash after five years when parents can be sure that the child will completely spit it out. The mouthwash contains mineral and antiseptic components, and according to various scientific publications, the systematic use of the mouthwash can reduce the risk of tooth decay by 15-20%.
5. Chewing gum with xylitol after eating
Chewing gum mechanically cleans the teeth from plaque, and xylitol inhibits the growth of cariogenic microbes and promotes enamel mineralization.
6. Professional hygiene and fluoride treatment of teeth
No matter how well parents care for a child’s teeth, there are still hard-to-reach places where plaque consistently remains. Therefore, the teeth need regular professional cleaning. This is especially true for children who wear orthodontic appliances. Depending on the risk of tooth decay in a child after a professional cleaning by a dentist, a procedure for additional strengthening of the enamel surface layer by fluoridation of the teeth may be recommended.