“Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth” says a quote. A courageous heart with a daring smile is the way to complete life. A smile boosts confidence and beauty in humans. But imagine a smile with empty tooth cavities. Would we still be confident and appealing? Particularly with kids, it’s important to stress oral hygiene. Because, when a child’s milk tooth or a permanent tooth falls too early due to cavities, it can lead to misalignment of the tooth and permanent tooth loss at a young age leading to a toothless adult.
A famous Tamil proverb translates as, “What won’t bend at five, will not bend at fifty”. So setting up a dental hygiene routine at a tender age would let them have healthy dental care throughout their life. Instead of worrying later, it is wise to build the foundation stronger. With no more delay, let us learn and put into action, the “whats” and “hows” in establishing the dental routine to let them have a healthy and happy smile.
1. Clean me, I make your breath clean:
Brush, Brush, brush your teeth
Brush it everyday
Properly, properly, properly, properly
Brush it every day!!!!
-Is a popular nursery rhyme. Starting right from there might help several toddlers. Because instead of just preaching we can impart using visual treat like songs & rhymes to register in the young minds. Once introduced to such rhythmic videos, sing the same rhyme when you brush them to co-relate. Also, let them see when you brush.
We can even make them brush their favorite doll and do enact & play. This way it makes them feel easy and understand that brushing won’t cause pain and is easy. Most of the toddlers get the fear of pain when something new is introduced. Once they get into a routine of brushing every morning, start brushing at night too. But make sure to take it slowly and steadily. Brushing twice a day keeps the germs away.
2. Water – Wash – Floss!!!
Water nourishes and maintains the human body. It flushes the toxins away and aids in the functioning of every organ. Teeth are one of those organs. Human teeth don’t directly work on water. But water helps improve its life-time. Because whenever we consume anything, the particles get stuck to the teeth. And when not cleaned or removed from time to time, increases the risk of tooth decay.
It is important to introduce the habit of drinking water after the kids eat anything. This ensures no food particles are stuck between the teeth. Also, when kids grow, it is great to introduce them to flossing and gargling everyday night with saltwater to avoid germs.
3. No-no to sugar:
Sugar is the most addictive food habit irrespective of any age. The cravings for sweet and sugary food keep growing each and every day & night even for us adults. Understand the difficulty for a tiny growing bud to understand and limit it. However, we should inform, educate, and let them practice to avoid sticky and sweet foods like candies, bubble gums, sugary juices, and bakery products. They damage the strongest muscle in the body, the tooth enamel.
The damage of the enamel is a big threat to their ‘Milk tooth’. When their ‘Milk tooth’ is at risk, their future teeth are at risk. This is because, during childhood, kids will have a very thin layer of enamel that protects their teeth. When sugary foods keep depositing over your child’s tooth, the enamel erodes completely affecting the inner layer of Dentin. This leads to tooth decay, and when things become worse tooth needs to be removed. If neglecting the sweetmeats are difficult, try offering homemade and sugarless sweets and snacks. Naturally sweet foods like fruits can be offered. They are healthier and organic. Wise and healthy alternatives like honey, Palm sugar, dates, and country sugar can be replaced with white sugar.
4. Teething & Paediatric dental visit:
“Every child is different and unique”. Similar is their teething pattern. It is best to visit your pediatric dentist once their first teeth erupt. Also every 6 months a routine checkup gives a picture of whether the tooth eruption is met on the track. You can get guidance on the right toothbrush like finger brushing at the beginning of teething, the transition from finger brush to kids brush, right paste to use, if fluoride deficiency or anything if any.
During teething, kids show different cues like crankiness, sleepless nights, continuously crying and even some become ill. It is because of keeping all the things in your mouth leading to various infections. You can consult with your child’s pediatric dentist to get advice on soothing techniques while teething. A frozen clean cloth can be mildly pressed against the gums from where the tooth is coming out to ease the pain and keeps the spot numb.
5. Thumb sucking:
Thumb sucking is another factor to keep in track of while taking care of your kid’s dental hygiene. Generally, children suck their thumb for assurance, comfort, and when they need that secured feeling. Mothers should mostly guess why their child might have started thumb sucking like
- When they are teething,
- When they might have abruptly stopped breastfeeding,
- When they are in a new place or environment to feel as protected as in the womb.
When this habit keeps continuing in long run, the child may get tooth issues. It may lead to teeth misalignment, protruding teeth, and elevated gums. This will need braces and alignment surgery in the future to correct it. So it is better to correct in beginning by addressing the need.
6. Teeth grinding
Teeth grinding is yet another serious issue in a child’s dental hygiene. This generally occurs at night times. Children having anxiety issues missed teeth, broken teeth, uneven jawline and tapeworm infestation grind their teeth. The grinding sound can be loud that it may even wake us sometimes. To address this, it is important to observe and understand the reason for it.
You can talk to your children to better understand their emotions. This is not just good for the tooth but also their happiness. If you feel they are stressed, you can find the reason and act on it. Most children grind their teeth when are infested with tapeworm, you can get medical help from your pediatrician to take care of the infestation. You can constantly alert your children when they grind their teeth or push their teeth with their tongue. This happens when having damaged teeth or loss of broken. The unconscious act can be stopped with constant monitoring and if needed can talk to your child’s dentist for a better solution.
7. Age-old practices of Dental Care
Sometimes age-old practices are best to take care of the health of the body. They are mostly eco-friendly, organic, and fruitful. When we start adopting such natural practices, it will bring a healthy change and it will carry over through generations. It will save the young smiles and teeth. There are many such practices for dental care.
Neem tree sticks and twigs of the banyan tree are age-old traditions used by our ancestors to brush. Tamil proverb which translates to “Banyan and Neem strengthens tooth” is adapted by many dental products in markets. Chewing on those twigs and brushing them has proven to save the teeth from the cavity and strengthen the gums. Cloves and Clove oil is another proven dental care natural product that strengthens the gums. They are also the best-known pain reliever for toothaches due to cavities. Brushing with salt or Gargling with salt water has a significant effect in acting on the area of the cavity. These practices can be inculcated in the daily routines to promote their dental strength.
Let us start spreading happy smiles!!!