‘Dental Care and Hygiene for kids’ during the lockdown- tips from an expert

Due to the Covid19 pandemic, kids’ daily routine have gone for a toss and especially when it comes to their eating habits. As sitting at home, leads to more food cravings giving kids an access to indulge in eating cookies; chocolates; homemade cakes; candies; biscuits throughout the day…. Isn’t it? 

So, Parents how are you all taking care of your kids oral habits? Are kids brushing their teeth twice a day? What measures are you taking to ensure this doesn’t lead to dental issues?

Oral health care is extremely important for children as they are at a growing stage. If proper care isn’t taken, it can lead to a problem which will last a lifetime. Hence, taking care of children’s teeth at an early age is very crucial! This includes oral hygiene routine and regular visits to the kids dentist.

We did an exclusive interview with Dr. Anisa, who is a well-renowned Dentist based in India. She has been awarded a gold medal for being a University topper. She has done her masters from the DBM academy UK. She is an active member of the IAPD (International Association of Pediatric Dentistry). She is a certified ‘Story Teller’ & implies her story telling techniques in the treatment of children as kid’s dentistry remains her passion.

In this article, she shares with us – top tips and advice right from ‘Dental Care at home to ‘Ways of making Dental Hygiene fun’ for kids which will assist you to maintain their oral care during home quarantine.

What is the right way of brushing babies and toddler’s teeth?

Dental hygiene should begin when your child is a baby. Initially you can use a finger brush.

Start using a soft child-size toothbrush around the age of 1 or 2. You should brush your child’s teeth with water at least twice a day. You also can add a small dab of toothpaste that doesn’t have fluoride in it. This type of toothpaste is safe for your child to swallow. Once your child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste, you can switch to one that has fluoride.

Only use a small amount. Teach your child to spread it among their teeth, gums, and tongue. Always stand slightly behind the child to gain visibility and access to the teeth, rather than directly in front of the child while brushing. Your child likely will need help brushing their teeth until they are 7 or 8 years old. Around this time, they can start using a larger sized toothbrush. You should switch out toothbrushes every 3 to 6 months or when the bristles look worn. Children should brush their teeth for 2 minutes.

Flossing is another key part of your child’s oral care routine. Teach your child to floss at least once a day. You can buy floss that comes with a handle to make it easier. You should also teach your child to brush his or her tongue. This helps reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth. Be sure that your child knows to brush his or her teeth before bed, after all eating and drinking (except water) is done.

What are the ways to encourage kids to brush their teeth twice a day and make dental hygiene fun?

Healthy teeth are important to your child’s overall health. They help your child eat and talk. Strong oral care helps set good dental habits as your child grows. Poor oral care can lead to infection, disease, or other teeth problems.

Help make dental hygiene fun with these tips:

  • Let children help choose their own toothbrush. They can pick one that has a favorite color or character.
  • Let children help choose toothpaste. They can pick their favorite flavor.
  • Read books or watch videos that talk about dental hygiene.
  • Use a timer to make sure kids brush their teeth for 2 minutes. Or play their favorite song to help keep track of time.
  • Engage them with their favorite Rhyme or Story so that they brush for the full 2 mins.
  • Reward children for good oral care. We generally ask them to fill a tooth brushing chart and put a star 🌟 sticker there, for every time they brush.
  • Always remember, for a child Dad’s the hero and mum’s the world, and so if you are a good role model for them, they will watch you and would want to brush too!

How to protect child’s tooth especially if they have a sweet tooth?

Believe it or not, sugar does not cause cavities. The belief that sugar exposure is the direct cause of tooth decay is one of the most widely held myths in dentistry.

The truth is, sugar exposure only causes tooth decay when the mouth has an abundance of cavity causing bacteria that can process that sugar into enamel demineralizing acids and/or sugar is consumed in large amounts frequently throughout the day.

Individuals that do not have a high bacterial challenge or a high quantity of cavity causing bacteria on their teeth are at lower risk for sugar consumption causing cavities.

Tips for Preventing Cavities with Sugar

  • Space out the sweets. Indulge with meals instead of snacking throughout the day, especially before bed.
  • Hydrate wisely. Resist the urge to sip sugary beverages between meals (they’re usually acidic).
  • Swish your mouth with plain water after snacking and wait about 30 minutes to brush your teeth.
  • Chew some sugar free gum (only for older kids) to reduce cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Neutralize acidity in your mouth with a good mouth wash.

Ways to keep teeth and gums strong and healthy?

Tooth enamel is the first line of defense your teeth have against plaque and cavities. It is the white, visible part of the tooth and it is also the hardest part of the human body.

Unfortunately, tooth enamel starts eroding from the acids formed by cavity-causing bacteria.

So, how can you protect your child’s tooth enamel?

  1. Avoid Sugary Foods and Drinks

Sugar feeds the bacteria on your teeth, causing plaque and ultimately cavities, which is why you should limit the number of sugary foods and drinks your child consumes. Try to avoid sugary drinks like soda, fruit juice and sports drinks, all of which are notoriously high in sugar.

2. Add Calcium Rich Foods

Calcium is a dental super mineral. That’s because it neutralizes damaging acids and is a great enamel protector. Try to add at least one dairy product to each of your child’s meals to provide them with an adequate amount of calcium.

3. Brush and Floss Regularly

Food debris left on your child’s teeth encourages bacteria growth that eats away at enamel and causes cavities. This is why it is important to brush twice per day, for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day to clean debris from the hard-to-reach areas of your child’s teeth. If your child is unable to floss by themselves, then floss their teeth for them. Brushing and flossing your child’s teeth are a great way to keep their mouths debris-free and fight plaque buildup.

4. Rinse after Meals

A great way to remove food debris from your child’s mouth is by having them rinse immediately after meals. Have your child swish clean water in their mouth for 30 seconds, and then spit it out in a sink. Encourage them to do this after each meal to keep their mouth clean and healthy.

5. Limit Citrus

Food and drinks high in citric acid erode tooth enamel in a process called demineralization. In bad cases of demineralization, acid will work its way to the soft layer beneath the enamel called the dentin. These advanced cases lead to tooth sensitivity and pain. If you consume anything with high citric acid, rinse with water for 30 seconds afterwards to clean away some of the lingering acid.

6. Use Fluoridated Toothpaste

Toothpaste with fluoride strengthens enamel through a process called remineralization. When choosing a toothpaste for your child, make sure it contains fluoride.

7. Visit your dentist regularly
Visiting the dentist twice a year makes sure that any dental issues are detected and treated early on rather than when a child is in pain, which is sadly the case in most cases. Dental Disease is totally preventable and so those six monthly visits to the dentist are very important for keeping healthy mouth and gums.

Is Flossing important for kids?

Flossing should start when your child has 2 teeth that touch. This is often around ages 2 to 3. Always floss under the direction of your child’s dentist or primary care provider. Before this age, flossing is not needed. Children often need help with flossing until they are ages 8 to 10.

The importance of flossing:-
Brushing teeth correctly and consistently help remove most dental plaque. But brushing alone can’t remove plaque that is located in places that a toothbrush can’t reach. This includes in between the teeth and under the gums. In addition to removing plaque, flossing also helps to:

  • Remove debris that sticks to teeth between the teeth and under the gums
  • Polish tooth surfaces
  • Control bad breath

Your child should floss at least once a day for 2 to 3 minutes each time to be most effective.

The next set of flossing instructions applies to teens and adults too.

  • To properly floss, use about 18 inches of floss wound around one of your middle fingers, with the rest wound around the opposite middle finger.
  • Hold the floss tightly between the thumbs and forefingers and gently insert it between the teeth.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape against the side of the tooth.
  • Rub the floss, gently up and down, keeping it pressed against the tooth. – Don’t jerk or snap the floss. -Floss all teeth. Don’t forget to floss behind the back teeth.

Remember always to also lead by example Establishing healthy habits early on can lead to a lifetime of good dental care practices and good health.

Dental Advice for babies and toddlers

A baby’s 20 primary (baby) teeth are already present in the jaw at birth and usually begin coming through the gums around 4 to 6 months of age. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3 years old.

Tooth decay is the most frequent childhood disease, but it’s also very preventable. The most common cause of tooth decay in young children is frequent, prolonged exposure of the teeth to sugary drinks.

Here are some tips to avoid tooth decay:
• Put only plain water, formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling bottles with liquids such as sweet- ened water, fruit juice or soft drinks.
• Never put your baby to bed with a bottle. Even when it’s breast milk or formula, it can still decay teeth. It can cause a condition called as “ Baby bottle Decay.”
• Use clean pacifiers — don’t dip them in sugar or honey.
• Try not to share saliva with the baby by using the same spoon or licking a pacifier to clean it. Tooth decay can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the mother to the baby.
• Keep your baby’s gums and teeth clean.
• Ideally brushing should begin as soon as the first tooth erupts.
• By the first birthday make sure, the child has had his first dental visit.

ABOUT DR. ANISHA

Dr. Anisa completed her Bachelors Degree from the most premium institution of the country (NAIR HOSPITAL DENTAL COLLEGE). Being excellent in her academics, she was awarded a gold medal for being a University topper. She has done her masters from DBM academy UK. She is an active member of the IAPD (International Association of Pediatric Dentistry). She is a certified ‘Story Teller’ & implies her story telling techniques in the treatment of children as kid’s dentistry remains her passion. Her passion of Pediatric Dentistry got her acclaimed at the national level twice. She was awarded as the “ The most passionate Dentist – Pedodontics “ at the Indian Diva Awards in 2018 & “ The International Dental Excellence Award – Jury Recommended ( Pediatric Dentistry) the same year. She is also a “ Keynote Speaker “ at various national and international dental conferences, including the prestigious “ World Dental Show ” and the “ Famdent Show”.

One can reach her at: http://www.instagram.com/kidsdentistry_dranisa

ABOUT HER CLINIC

Dr. Anisa & Dr. Shoeb Shaikh named their clinic ‘ANSH DENTAL’ in 2007, after being into this profession for more than 10 years. The name ANSH is derived from the initials of their name ANisha & SHoeb, and it means ‘ PART ‘ as patients are a “ part” of it. Dr. Anisa and Dr. Shoeb are a husband wife duo running the centre that is a state of art 3 chair dental practice since past 15 years. The clinic is a family dental practice with special attention to Implants, Gums and Kids Dental Care. At ANSH the doctors (associates & consultants) are picked up from the best institutions across India and are selected only on the basis of merit. Associate doctors undergo training and are thoroughly evaluated on their clinical skills before attempting on any patient and are constantly guided by the doctor duo throughout the treatment of the patient. Personal Recommendations & ‘Word of Mouth’ is what really keeps us going strong. Quality Dentistry that lasts over years & providing the BEST Patient Experience & comfort is our goal.

You can visit our office to evaluate your child’s overall oral health. We check and document the state of your child’s tooth enamel as a part of our regular checkups, and we will help give you and your child the knowledge necessary to keep a healthy, lifelong smile.

Address-

Ansh Dental Clinic.
Office no 109, Markaz View building,
Next to Millat School,
S.V Road, Jogeshwari West,
Mumbai -400102.

26787742/ 26794795/ 9892758662

KEEP SMILING! 😊

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