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Good oral hygiene routine for children

Good oral hygiene routine for children

dr gritzmanBy Dr Janet Gritzman

We all want our children to be happy, healthy and successful. A gorgeous, engaging smile, beautiful teeth, fresh breath and healthy mouths which are pain free is one of the ways we can ensure that our children can face the world and its challenges with confidence.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dental decay is the most prevalent disease in the world. It is also preventable. Ensuring that your children do not suffer from tooth and gum (caries and periodontal) disease and the pain that goes with it is one of the most precious gifts you can give them.

The good news is – it is not that difficult!

To achieve this we need to instill in our children from a young age a certain lifestyle and mindset. Good habits started early will ensure that our children not only have healthy and beautiful teeth but maintain them for life.

What is the secret?

It’s as easy as 1 2 3!

  1. Good oral hygiene routine,
  2. A healthy diet,
  3. Regular dental visits started early.

How do we do it in the best possible way?

 Attitude:

Make it fun,make it simple, make it consistent

A child needs to know that caring for ones teeth is an essential part of a daily hygiene routine.

The mother plays a vital role in instilling this attitude to the child.

It ideally begins at birth, when the mother baths the baby she should wipe the babies mouth with gauze. This teaches the child that ones’ oral hygiene is an essential part of ones’ body hygiene.

As the child gets older-and can respond, there must be a structured time for cleaning teeth.

Making it fun and doing it together can be special mother or father/ caregiver time with the child. (In fact in my practice a lot of parents tell me that it is the Dads job to see to the teeth cleaning).

Ideally when the parent is brushing his/her teeth the child can sit on the vanity slab and be allowed to brush their own teeth.

Children love to imitate, and do what their parents do.

Once the parent is finished with their own teeth cleaning, then they should clean the child’s teeth.

Obviously as the child gets older and his/her skill improves, they can be gradually given more responsibility.

A good oral care routine for children:

A good oral care routine for children includes the components of brushing, flossing and rinsing.

In fact one should start the routine with flossing, then brushing and finish off with a fluoride mouth rinse

Timing:

The oral care regime should be a structured time period twice a day.

In the morning: preferably after breakfast

In the evening: the last thing before a child goes to bed at night. After the Oral Hygiene routine, at night – the child should not eat or drink anything except water.

If possible, a midday rinse with a fluoride mouth rinse (after lunch) is very beneficial.

Flossing:

This need only be done once a day, either morning or evening or half the mouth in the morning i.e. the upper jaw in the morning and the lower jaw in the evening or visa versa, depending on time constrants.

Until the child has the manual dexterity to floss their own teeth the parent should do it for them. Floss holders make flossing a lot easier and more fun.

Brushing :

Should be done twice a day.

Brushing needs to be done with a small head brush, preferably electric, minimal (pea sized) drop of fluoride toothpaste. One should make sure that all sides of the teeth are brushed, outside, inside and top.

Rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse:

Needs to be done twice a day, preferably 3 times a day.

After breakfast, after lunch and last thing before going to bed at night.

Half a cap full – swished around the mouth for 20 seconds.

After this – must not eat, drink or rinse for at least 30 minutes

Tooth Moose:

I am a very strong believer in Tooth Moose.

A small amount of tooth moose should be rubbed onto the teeth with the finger – last thing before going to bed at night.