Tooth cavities form in children because of poor oral hygiene. In some cases, cavities are hereditary; it is also seen more in people of certain ethnicities. Oral hygiene starts from infancy. Many parents are unaware that infants too need their mouth and tongue cleaned regularly to prevent the likelihood of infections. If poor dental hygiene starts at infancy itself, the chances of the gum becoming weak, and therefore, more prone to cavities later in life is a possibility.
Taking care of your infant’s oral hygiene
Whether breast feeding or using a formula, it is important to clean the baby’s mouth after a feed. Use a wet piece of soft cloth or cotton to wipe the tongue and gums. When children start teething, they’re still too small to use a toothbrush. Though toothbrushes for infants are available, you could just wipe the teeth with a wet cloth till they are a bit older.
Oral care for older children
Children eat and drink a lot of foodstuff that are sweet. From a young age, encourage them to brush their teeth twice daily. They should also brush their teeth after eating or drinking anything sweet, for complete oral care. It is better, not to wait for your kids to get old enough to brush their own teeth before starting teeth and gum care. If they’re too young to brush their own teeth, you can brush their teeth for them. Soon, they will learn to brush effectively on their own. Make sure that the bristles on their brush are soft as their gums will still be tender.
Many people are not aware of the fact that oral hygiene starts in infancy. They feel that children need to start brushing their teeth only after losing their baby teeth and when new teeth forms. This is a common misconception and completely wrong. By the time your child loses the milk teeth, irreparable damage may have already been done to the gums.
When should children start flossing?
The importance of flossing cannot be overstressed. Flossing may not be necessary for very small children. Washing their mouth out well should be enough as long as they’re on soft or semi soft foods. Once they start eating solid food, they should be taught to floss. Again, the parent can help them with the flossing till they are able to do it on their own.
Regular dental visits
A large percentage of people are unaware of when they should start taking their child to a dentist. Dental visits should start as early as possible. Your pediatrician will probably be able to advise you on when to start going to the dentist. Regular dental appointments ensure that your child’s teeth stays free of infections and this will prevent cavities. If there is any kind of infection, it can be caught and addressed immediately. Don’t wait for your child to have a tooth ache or some kind of dental problem before fixing to visit the dentist.
Some important do’s and don’ts for oral hygiene
- Make sure that your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day.
- Don’t let your infant go to sleep with their feeding bottle in their mouth.
- Don’t let your child have sugary foods just before going to sleep.
- Don’t let your child overindulge in sweets and sweetened drinks.
- Make sure that you take your child for regular dental visits.
- Set an example for your child by following all these steps yourself.
Cavities are caused by bacteria that attack the food that is left in the mouth. This turns into an infection and causes cavities. Fight the bacteria by being careful with your dental hygiene, and your child will have sparkling white, strong teeth.