The primary teeth, also known as the milk teeth, are most susceptible to dental caries. Caries is an infectious disease, aided by harmful bacteria, that targets and destroys the mineralized portion of the teeth. As pediatric dentists, we cannot emphasize enough that young kids are unable to maintain proper oral hygiene themselves – which is why they need your active participation.
Here are some helpful tips that you can follow and practice to help prevent the development of dental caries in your kids’ teeth:
- Routine Visits to the Dental Office: Did you know that you can start bringing your child to the dental office right around the eruption of his/her very first tooth? This allows us to keep a check on the child’s soft tissues, oral mucosa, and of course the new teeth, to make sure there aren’t any anomalies.
- At-Home Cleaning: You don’t have to wait till your baby gets his/her first teeth before you start cleaning their oral cavity. Following feeding sessions, you can wipe clean your infant’s mouth with the help of a damp cloth. Once the teeth erupt, use a small size, soft bristled tooth brush to gently clean around the crown to remove any plaque. Later on, you can start using a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush the child’s teeth.
- Establish a Routine: They say that kids learn more from watching their parents, than from what is told to them. Establish a routine where you dedicate several minutes after meals and before bedtime to oral cleaning. With a routine in place, kids find it easier to follow what needs to be done to keep their teeth and gums healthy and clean.
- Demonstrate the Correct Technique: The correct brushing and flossing techniques play a vital role in keeping the mouth disease-free. Make sure the toothbrush reaches all exposed parts of the crowns so as to remove any accumulated food debris and plaque. Flossing helps dislodge food particles stuck between the teeth that can also cause irritation to the gums.
- Encourage Healthy Eating Habits: Lead by example when it comes to changing or inculcating healthy eating habits. Encourage your child to snack on vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits instead of sugary treats. A balanced diet contains portions from all major food groups – which is very important for a child’s growth and development. Sugary snacks create a favourable environment for bacteria to carry out decay in the mouth, and should be avoided.
- Transitioning from Bottles to Cups: Nursing bottles are known culprits behind the development of ECC, or Early Childhood Caries. Encourage your child to start using cups from an early age to completely eliminate the use of bottles.
- Fissure Sealants: Fissure sealant treatments have shown outstanding results in preventing the development of tooth decay in young children. The procedure is painless, non-invasive and takes only a few minutes to complete. It creates a protective barrier over the enamel of the tooth, thus protecting it from bacteria.
A little help goes a long way! Your active participation in their daily lives can help protect their teeth from infections, and ensure healthy growth and development. Should you have any questions regarding caries or its prevention, feel free to give us a call!