Good oral hygiene starts at a young age

Dental on Plein in Durbanville gives us some insight on oral care for children:

When should parents start to practice oral care in children to help their child’s teeth to grow strong? Just because your baby is still teeth-less, it does not mean you can neglect his or her oral care and good oral health should start early. The best way to protect your child’s teeth is to teach good dental habits with proper coaching to adapt good oral hygiene.

Oral care begins with bottle-drinking babies

If bottle tips/teats rest against the front teeth during sleeping then sweetened liquids stay in direct contact with teeth for long periods of time causing acid produced by plaque eating away the front teeth by decay. The same happens with prolonged breastfeeding.

Dental On Plein Durbanville advices parents to follow the following procedures when it comes to the oral care of your baby.

  • No sugar or sweat liquids in bottle before bedtime
  • Do not dip the dummy in sugar or honey
  • Stop breast- and bottle-feeding by 1 year of age
  • Child start to drink from a cup or straw by one year of age
  • Eat sweet foods / drinks with meals and not in between
  • Rinse the child’s mouth or give water to drink after meals if brushing cannot be done

Dental care for young children

Use a cloth or soft children’s toothbrush to clean the mouth of a child younger that one year and avoid using fluoride toothpaste at that age. It is also important for parents to assist and supervise in the teeth-brushing process until the child reaches the age of about 8-years. It is only at the age of about 10-years that a child is able to brush their teeth properly on their own.

When to start brushing

Parents should start brushing as soon as 1st tooth is in the mouth and use a ‘pea size’ amount of toothpaste.

“A ‘pea size’ of toothpaste is the correct amount, not a sausage of toothpaste.” – Dr Ockert Spangenberg Dental on Plein Durbanville –

Make sure the child spits out the toothpaste after brushing because swallowing of toothpaste can cause spots on the primary teeth. A back and forth scrubbing action is better in a child younger than 6, and older than 6, brushing in circles is better.

A word on flossing

Parents should start flossing between their child’s teeth from the age of 3. There are no spaces between the child’s teeth and a toothbrush cannot reach in between the teeth.

Baby teeth and teething

Baby teeth should not be extracted as they keep the space for permanent teeth to come through in the correct place and prevent permanent teeth from growing in skew. Baby teeth also helps with speech and chewing.

Teething happens between 6 months and 3 years, in this stage the gums swell, become sore and very red where the tooth is about to erupt. The front teeth are 1st to erupt, sometimes a bluish swelling appears before the teeth erupt. By 3 years if age all the baby teeth are usually in place and amount to 20 teeth. By 6 years the 1st permanent teeth erupt.

Teething symptoms

  • Complains of pain
  • Drools a lot
  • Doesn’t eat well
  • Slight fever sometimes and difficulty sleeping

How to treat teething symptoms

Teething foods: hard food like biltong sticks, but not foods that can break off like biltong pieces that can be swallowed and the child could choke.  Massage the gums with your finger. Teething toys like rubber teething rings or a cold washcloth, no fluid rings. Teejel can be used to numb the gums and can be applied every 3 to 4 hours.

Fluoride supplements are needed for Cape Town children

South Africa’s water’s fluoride levels are generally low, in Cape Town of less 0.05mg fluoride per litre (F/L).  The optimal levels of fluoride that prevent tooth decay should be maintained at 0.7mg F/L. Therefore, fluoride supplements are needed from 6 months of age to 12 years.

Zymafluor can be bought at any pharmacy or health store. It comes in drops or tablets, 4 drops = 1 tablet = 0.25mg. In children younger than 6 years drops are advised and between 6- and 12-years tablets should be given. Children should chew tablets rather than swallowing it. The longer the tablet is in contact with the teeth the more beneficial.

Your child’s first dental visit is to help him/her feel comfortable with the dentist and is recommended by one year of age, or within six months of the first tooth coming out.

For more information contact Dental on Plein, family and cosmetic dentistry in Durbanville:

+27 21 976 8107

Annette Havenga – Happening News ©

Source: Dental on Plein Durbanville

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