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Good oral hygiene is not only about clean teeth and fresh breath. It is the way to maintain good overall health and your child’s precious smile.
Although the average age when baby’s teeth appear is 6 months, the oral hygiene should be maintained right from the birth.
After all, we have only two sets of teeth for the entire lifetime and protecting them is upon us. At each age, a child needs different form of oral care.
So, here is an age-wise guide to help you understand how to maintain your tiny tot’s oral hygiene.
Age Group: 0 to 6 months
This is the age where generally the baby doesn’t have any teeth, but it is important to pay attention to a baby’s gum health.
Here are a few things you could do to maintain gum hygiene of your child.
Have the habit of wiping your baby’s gums twice daily, after feeding the morning meal and before bedtime. Make sure your baby doesn’t go to sleep without the mouth being cleaned.
Cradle the baby in one arm and with a clean moistened washcloth wrapped around the index finger of your other hand; gently massage the gums of your baby.
You can also use finger brush instead of a washcloth. This ensures good blood circulation and cleans up the sugary content of the mouth after meals. Don’t let your baby go to bed with a bottle of milk in the mouth.
The dental infections are transmissible, so it is advised to clean the pacifier or the nipple of the bottle that putting it in your mouth.
Your baby’s first visit to a dentist should be around the first birthday or when the first tooth erupts. Dentist will assess overall growth of jaw bone and any abnormalities in baby’s mouth
Age Group: 6 month to 2.5 years
By this age you will see pearly whites shining through your baby’s mouth when it smiles. Your baby will have at least a couple of teeth or perhaps as many as eight teeth by this time.
Usually your tint tot will get the bottom front two teeth first; some may even have the eruption of upper front two teeth.
The biggest problem during this period is kids experiencing teething symptom as their teeth come in. some babies become fussy, sleepless and irritable.
Some lose their appetite and drool more than usual. This is because of teething pain. You can read here how to manage teething problems in kids.
Once the first tooth erupts, it’s time to switch over to a baby toothbrush. Clean your infant’s teeth and gums using a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoridated toothpaste.
Start weaning off your baby from the bottle. Offer him more solid foods and offer drinks in the cup. Limit the consumption of the sweetened beverages and foods to reduce the risk of early decay of milk teeth.
Keep reading more about the normal appearance of your baby’s gums and teeth. Keep checking for abnormalities, such as white or brown spots on your baby’s teeth, regularly.
They indicate early signs of tooth decay. By the time your baby is 2-2.5 years old, he may have all the milk teeth. In case, your little one has not got any tooth by this time, consult a dentist.
The doctor may examine the gums and feel the teeth below the surface of gums. Dental x-ray may require to diagnose milk teeth condition. This is the age when the child needs to be taught the importance of brushing regularly. Using fluoride toothpaste ensures the exposure of fluoride to baby teeth which helps in prevention of tooth decay.
Age group: 2.5 year to12 years.
Most kids have all 20 baby teeth by about 3 years of age. up to 6 years, all milk teeth remain in mouth and during this stage child start learning various oral activity like chewing hard food, deglutition, spit, speaking etc.,
There are few things you can do keep your child’s mouth healthy.
- Brush 2 times a day (morning and night) with fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities.
For children younger than age 3, use an amount of toothpaste that is the size of a grain of rice. For children 3 years and older, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Teach your child how to do proper brushing, make sure that your kids do clean all surfaces of teeth. Always supervise kids younger than 8 while brushing, as they’re likely to swallow toothpaste.
- Watch your child’s diet.
What your child eats and drinks can hurt their baby teeth. Some drinks including fruit juice and soda can be high in sugar or acid. Limit sugary treats like cookies, chocolate etc. Sugar and acid can make the outer shell (enamel) of teeth weak and put teeth at a higher risk for cavities. Give as much as fruits, vegetables and food containing vitamin-D; that helps in teeth development.
- Ask your dentist about sealants.
A sealant is a special coating material that goes into the grooves and pits of your child’s molars (back teeth). Sealants protect against cavities on the biting surfaces of the teeth.
- Ask your dentist about fluoride treatment.
Fluoride is found in many public water sources and toothpastes, and helps protect teeth from cavities. Your dentist may also recommend fluoride varnish to provide extra cavity protection.
Applying fluoride varnish or gel is quick and painless procedure. Your dentist will paint the fluoride treatment (a sticky varnish) on the top and sides of your child’s teeth with a small brush to help prevent cavities.
- Regular visit to dentist
As soon you see your baby’s first tooth – and no later than your child’s first birthday – visit the dentist for a check-up.
Your dentist can tell you if your child has plaque or cavities, when to expect the next baby teeth to come in, and how to take good care of your child’s teeth.
After 12 years
During 6 year to 12 years milky teeth is replace by permanent teeth one by one, here below chart is give you details idea of tooth eruption.
Once all milky teeth are replace by permanent teeth, one should maintain oral care by proper brushing technique. Because permanent teeth will serve you life time.
- Great White Sharkshave around 3,000 teeth in their mouth at one time in multiple rows on their jaws
- Blue whales have no teeth; they only eat tiny shrimp called krill, so they don’t need teeth. Instead, they have bristle-like filters called baleen