Children’s teeth: Keeping them happy and healthy
Everyone knows that brushing your teeth is an essential factor to having healthy teeth. But are you sure that you, as a parent, have stressed the importance of oral care to your children?
In 2003, a nationwide oral health survey was carried out on Singaporean kids. It was appalling to find out that 48% of 6-year-olds were suffering from tooth decay and almost half of them had 4 or more decayed teeth.
What are the preventive measures to make sure that your child will not be a part of this statistic? We take a look at some important material that is sure to reward your child with a healthy smile.
At around six months, your child’s teeth will start to appear. This will cause your child’s gums to feel tender and irritable. Here’s what you can do: rub the gums with your finger, a small cool spoon, or frozen teething ring. Pain relief gels and medications from pharmacies can also be applied.
It is a common misconception that a kid should only visit the dentist when her first adult tooth appears. Children should actually be visiting the dentist as soon as they get their first baby tooth. The dentist can then check your child’s teeth to make sure that her baby teeth are developing without any problems. At the same time, your dentist will be able to teach her the importance of oral health. Both of you will be well-informed about dental factors such as diet, fluoride toothpaste, and brushing. It’s good to start her oral health awareness from young!
Let’s review some reminders that you can apply for future brushing:
- Use a small and soft- bristled toothbrush.
- Apply only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush.
- Use fluoride toothpaste only when your child knows how to spit. Younger toddlers tend to swallow toothpaste more. If fluoride is swallowed in excessive quantities, this can lead to discoloration of the teeth.
- For kids who can spit, use fluoride- reduced toothpastes made especially for children. Fluoride toothpaste hardens the enamel of the tooth; hence making it stronger.
- Brush with a circular or wiggly motion on the tooth surfaces, more specifically where the tooth meets the gum line.
Cavities are formed when bacteria in the mouth uses the sugar in food to make acid. The acid eats away at the teeth forming holes. Your child might be at huge risk of having cavities if she eats many sugary drinks and snacks. The risk is increased if your child has any of these factors:
- Was born prematurely and weighed very little at birth
- Doesn’t visit dentist often
- Has special health care needs
- Has white or brown spots on teeth
As a family, all of you can prevent cavities in your teeth. Family members who have cavities put babies and children at risk by passing the cavity-causing bacteria. Take good care of your teeth by brushing twice a day, and for adults, floss once a day. Don’t forget your annual dentist visits too!
Some kids find brushing their teeth a big bore and a chore. What can we do to bring the action of brushing teeth to a whole level of fun?
- Transform flossing to a funny face contest! It’ll give the kids the tickles and motivate them to floss even more!
- Brushing the teeth can be a ‘Simon Says’ game, where you call out the different areas of your mouth.
- Organise a calendar where a gold star is rewarded for every floss and brush. At the end of the month, a special prize is given for their efforts!
- Go shopping with them to let them choose a cool toothbrush and toothpaste that has their favourite cartoon characters.
- Play music whilst brushing and flossing! Not only does this lighten spirits, but also helps them keep to the beat while carrying out their dental activities.
Now that you know the ins and outs of dental health, be sure to share this with your family and friends. Remember to always brush, floss, and smile!
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