When it comes to caring for an kid ( 0-4 years), most parents are well aware of the need for routine pediatrician visits as part of their baby’s health care regimen. Most of them visit the doctor for routine check ups, vaccinations etc but very few Indian parents consider going to a dentist. In fact, if they did they would save themselves a lot of problems afterwards!
In the dentistry world, it is well-recognized how important and necessary is a child’s early and regular dental care. For optimal oral health, the Indian Dental Association (IDA) recommends that dental visits begin with the appearance of a child’s first tooth as an effective way to have a lifelong program of preventive and good dental care and oral hygiene. Small children need to be taught the importance of looking after their teeth, so it is only fair that you as their parents share your knowledge and teach the children from an early age about oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
A few tips for early dental care –
Buy them a brush by age 1.5 years when the teeth start popping up ! Introducing a baby to his/her new first toothbrush can be fun, think about having a Disney character logo on it. This will encourage him/her to use that brush and better still the baby will know this particular bristled cleaner is theirs. This is also the time to teach them good oral hygiene. Experiencing his/her first encounter with the toothbrush should be an exciting event for the baby, where you get to show the toddler what it is for and how to use it.
This will not be too hard because as we know all babies put everything into their mouths so there we are, half the battle won. A good way to start is with a plastic cup containing two tablespoons of water, then squeeze a small amount of toothpaste into the liquid then stir. This can turn out to be a messy routine but more effective otherwise they tend to eat the toothpaste directly without brushing !
A baby will love every minute of dipping his own brush in and out of the cup, remember to supervise the baby at all times. Regular checkups to the dentist will allow the baby to become more comfortable with a dentist and not be scared of dental check ups!
Listen to the dentist and to the advice he may give, in case the teeth have cavities or are dirty because even in milk teeth, kids do get cavities!
Sometimes the teeth are crooked or broken , in that case too don’t be negligent and think that “these are only temporary teeth and these will break away , so why bother ?”… bother you must because the permanent teeth too will be misshapen-ed if the temporary are !
As a good parent, good oral hygiene for your kid is in your best interest too . You will spend less money on their later dental visits and cure if you are careful from the beginning ! It is therefore, in your best interest to adhere to the golden rules on how to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. This can save a lot of pain and suffering down the road and also a lot of money!
One Baby Tooth + One Dental Visit = Zero Cavities
For every tooth, visit the dentist once!
“The ‘first-tooth visit’ lets the dentist check for proper oral and facial development, see if the teeth are growing in properly, and also detect early tooth decay. It also gives the dentist a chance to walk the parents through a complete program of home dental care for the child.
Tooth decay, even in the earliest stages of life, can have serious implications for a child’s long-term health and well-being-and it’s becoming more of a problem every day. A recent report from the Indian Dental Association has reported that in 2018-19 there was an increase of 15.5% of cavities in two- to five-year olds, due to bad oral health and eating chocolates, candies and also sleeping with a sweetened milk bottle in mouth. In fact this single practice of giving a milk bottle before bed and not brushing at night has been identified as the single largest cause of tooth decay as the most common childhood disease.
A possible contributor to this trend is the fact that only three out of five children visit a dentist at least once a year. While parents may avoid taking a child to the dentist to save money, studies show that children who have their first dental visit before age one have 40 percent lower dental costs in their first five years than children who don’t, making preventive care a sound health and economic decision.
Without preventive care, the impact of tooth decay on child development can be striking. A study in Pediatric Dentistry showed that children with cavities were significantly more likely to weigh less than 80 percent of their ideal body weight. Even more disturbing is evidence that the effects of poor oral health may be felt for a lifetime. Emerging research suggests that improper oral hygiene may increase a child’s risk of having heart disease or suffering a stroke as an adult.