Expert Speak: Super easy oral hygiene tips to keep your toddler's dental problems at bay
Dr Nida Khateeb, practicing cosmetic dentist from Mumbai, gives you simple tips to keep your child's teeth healthy and cavity-free.
The anxiety for child care begins right from the very first months into the pregnancy and the “to be” mothers of this age are very well informed and educated with regards to the health care, supplements, check ups, nutrition; thanks to the internet and the raised awareness with regards to pre natal care.
But that one thing that is still missing and many times not considered of significance is "oral health care" for pregnant women while the fact is that pregnancy is the time when underlying dental ailments can flare up owing to the play up of hormones.
Gum problems, impacted third molars or even untreated decayed teeth can land you in excruciating pain and times where medication and treatment get very selective considering the pregnancy, which is exactly why procedures like simple cleaning/polishing and a dental check up are crucial when planning for a baby and also during early pregnancy.
I come across many parents who are absolutely unapologetic about their toddlers having decayed teeth or bad oral health as those teeth are eventually going to shed off only to be replaced with a permanent set later.
Believe me, it gets tough explaining to them that when God has decided to gift you a set of teeth which may not be permanent but it has to live its time, perform the function, keep the spaces intact and even for the successor permanent teeth.
And, at the same time reward the toddler with a smile because, a toothless smile way earlier than the natural shedding can have a psychological effect on the kid.
Besides, the decay can land them with pain/swelling and even affect the nutrition balance that so crucial in the developing years. This is because the choice of food gets limited and the incomplete chewing will land up the kid with problems of digestions.
So when we are talking about oral health care for kids let me provide you with solutions as well:
- The care begins right from the child birth. Simple things like soaking your clean finger in water and running it mildly through the child’s oral cavity after feed will go a long way in keeping his teeth healthy.
- Once you start noticing the milk teeth erupt use a kid tooth brush with a fluoridated tooth paste to clean them.
- Help your child clean his teeth until he grows to learn to properly clean them himself.
- Go for a regular check up to your dentist so that early signs of decay or any other dental problems can be taken care of.
- There are preventive measures available in dentistry such as sealing off the pit and fissures of teeth or fluoridation which help prevent tooth decay.
- Simple home hygiene tips such as teaching the child to gargle regularly after snacking/meals, brushing with the correct technique twice a day can do much more to your childs precious health rather than those fancy tooth brushes and crazy ingredients every tooth paste claims to possess.
- Also while the child is growing a dentist will help identify the over retained milk teeth and will suggest their timely removal so that the permanent successors have enough space to erupt.
These small things will prevent your child from elaborate braces treatment in future. Of course, in cases when it is still required it is a different story altogether.
To summarise oral health care is equally important but neglected in young kids. It's time we educate ourselves and our children the importance of dental health and benefits because it’s the ignorance that costs you.
I’m sure no parent would want to see their child suffer from one of the most excruciating pains on this earth!