Healthy teeth are vital for your child’s overall health, aiding in eating and talking. Establishing strong oral care habits early helps prevent infections, diseases, and dental issues like cavities. Although cavities are common in childhood, they can be avoided with proper brushing, flossing, reduced sugar intake, and regular dental check-ups. Baby teeth, or primary teeth, are essential for speaking, smiling, and eating, and they also act as placeholders for permanent teeth. If baby teeth fall out too early, it can cause the remaining teeth to shift into undesirable positions, resulting in crooked permanent teeth. Ensuring good oral hygiene from a young age sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy dental habits and prevents future dental problems. (Also read: 6 viral dental myths debunked: Separating fact from fiction for healthy teeth )

Ensuring your child’s dental health is paramount for their overall well-being.

Dental care tips for children

Dr. Arun, BDS, Senior Dental Consultant, Fortis Hospital Richmond Road, Bengaluru, shared with HT Lifestyle some tips to keep your child’s dental health in great shape.

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1. Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth even before their teeth come in. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe their gums after feedings.

2. Schedule your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth coming in.

3. Once teeth appear, start brushing them twice a day using a small soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice for babies and a pea-sized amount for children aged 3 to 6).

4. Begin flossing your child’s teeth once they have two teeth that touch. This helps to remove plaque and food particles between teeth.

5. Limit sugary snacks and drinks. Encourage a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, dairy products and water.

6. Make sure your child gets enough fluoride to strengthen their teeth. This can be through drinking water toothpaste or fluoride treatments from the dentist.

7. Schedule regular dental check-ups every six months. This helps in early detection and treatment of potential dental issues.

8. If your child is involved in sports, ensure they wear a mouthguard to protect their teeth from injury.

9. Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle filled with milk juice or any sugary liquid. This can lead to tooth decay.

10. Children often mimic their parents. Show them that you take your oral health seriously by brushing and flossing regularly.

11. Turn brushing and flossing into a fun activity. Use toothbrushes with their favourite characters, play their favourite song while they brush or use apps designed to encourage kids to brush properly.

12. Teach your child about the importance of oral hygiene and how to properly care for their teeth. It’s called the tell, show, and do technique.

13. Talk to your dentist about dental sealants, a protective coating applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to prevent decay.

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