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11 things you didn’t know about your baby’s dental health:

11 things you didn’t know about your baby’s dental health:
October 09
09:16 2014

It’s a happy milestone when your toddler’s first tooth appears. In general the child’s first tooth appears at around 6-8 months of age and by the time child is 3 years old all the teeth have come through. Here are a few things that parents should keep in mind to ensure your child has a healthy set of teeth and good sense of oral hygiene.

  1. You should start brushing your child as soon as the first milk tooth comes through. On an average that’s around 6-8 months of age.
  2. It’s important to use a fluoride paste as this helps prevent and control tooth decay. For children, use a pea size amount of paste and brush, however for infants, a smear of toothpaste is enough.
  3. You must have read/heard it a number of times, but it is important to reiterate this fact again, that it is important to brush your child’s teeth twice a day. Once in the morning and just before bedtime. Regular effective brushing keeps the plaque away, which causes cavities and gum problems.
  4. The correct way to brush is to do it for two minutes, Keep an egg timer or use your phone’s stopwatch to time the 2 minutes. It’s much longer than one thinks!
  5. Try to make the brushing as much fun as possible, try to brush your own teeth as well at the same time. It will be much easier for the child to form a habit when it is a fun task to do.
  6. It is also important to use toothpaste with fluoride as toothpastes without fluoride are less effective in preventing decay. For recommended fluoride for children’s toothpaste- always check the label or ask your dentist. Generally it is advised that the tooth paste should have:
    • 1000 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride – for kids less than 3 years of age
    • 1350- 1500 ppm of fluoride – for kids between 3 and 6 years of age
  7. Encourage the child to spit the toothpaste out , making sure they do not swallow it.
  8. Let them spit the toothpaste out but avoid rinsing of mouth with water after brushing, letting the foam stay on the teeth for as long as possible.
  9. Make sure they do not lick or eat the toothpaste from the tube. Toothpaste contains fluoride and ingestion of fluoride can be harmful and in very high doses even be life threatening. if your child has accidentally swallowed lots of toothpaste, please consult your doctor immediately,
  10. Mouthwash shouldn’t be used till the child is capable of completely spitting it out, which is usually after 6 years of age. Use a kid’s mouthwash to start with, at a different time to tooth brushing and remember, use of mouthwash doesn’t replace tooth brushing, it’s just an adjunct.
  11. And finally, supervise the brushing till the child is 7 or 8 years of age make sure they are spitting it out and not swallowing and are brushing all the areas effectively and for long enough as recommended.

Tooth brushing is the most effective way of preventing cavities and keeping gums healthy. The white stuff that forms on the teeth is called plaque. It is basically a microbial biofilm (a collection of bacteria). If plaque is not removed regularly, it can cause gingivitis, which causes bleeding, soreness and swelling of gums. Bad breath is another common but avoidable problem related to plaque. Plaque is initially soft but starts to harden within 48 hours and if not brushed and removed, would turn into hard tartar or calculus in about 10 days.

Dental cavity or decay is the dissolution of the outer layer of the teeth because of acid produced by sugars when bacteria are present. Cavities when go into deeper layers can cause pain, discomfort and infection.

It is not uncommon to see cavities and gum problems in baby teeth and hence it’s very important to start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears.


Written By- Dr Rashi Soin

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