How Parents Can Teach Children Dental Hygiene And Care

Posted by Nirmala Subramanian on Sat, Jun 19, 2010  
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Tooth decay accounts for the most chronic and common disorder among children with lifestyle changes in the present century turn. The busy life and pampering of working parents has lead to children having faulty dental habits. However parents it is best you realize that dental care and hygiene starts in the formative age of children; the time a child gets his/her first milk teeth. Parents should consider it their prime duty to take children for regular dental checkups, in addition to teaching and encouraging them for dental care and hygiene. 


It is interesting to note that a child’s teeth start developing in its gums when they have been just three to six months in their mother’s uterus. So wise parents would avoid development of bacteria in the gums by wiping the gums of the baby with a soft cloth after each feed. Yes, parents should get their baby’s first soft toothbrush available in different colors and shapes and baby toothpaste (free of fluoride) once he/she gets ones first tooth. It is advisable to take a child for it’s first dental checkup when it’s first teeth erupts and then to take every 6 months after a child is 2 years old.


Parents, it is best to start avoiding tooth decay early in life by avoiding putting the baby to sleep when he is drinking milk or juice from his/her sipper cup or bottle; it leads to tooth decay due to wear out of tooth enamel due to prolonged exposure to milk. Mealtimes should also be juice times. Restrict child pacifiers and thumb sucking till a child is a year old to avoid incorrect teeth formation and jaw problems.


Certain lifestyle changes or habits from early childhood are very important even before a child learns to brush his/her teeth or is taught about dental care and hygiene. Parents feel elated to pamper their young children with sweets in the form of candies, chocolates, cookies and drinking of soda or soft drinks. This is harmful for the teeth and a child can instead be given fruits and vegetables. Instead encouragement to a child by hugs, kisses and useful toys proves useful. Additionally encouraging a child to cultivate a liking for calcium rich foods like yogurt, cheese and milk would be healthy.


Start the habit of brushing a child’s teeth by singing the song,

” Brush, brush, brush your teeth, brush them up and down.

There comes pussy to tell you brush them left and right.

Brush them inside up and down,

There I see baby’s (name if you want) teeth so clean and white. “


Continue the brushing exercise till a baby starts brushing twice daily. Make brushing a daily fun family affair helps encourage the child.  .  Parents should encourage and make a habit to brush his/her teeth after each meal, in addition to after taking liquid medications and sweets. encouraging a child to making a gurgling sound with water after he/she brushes could be a fun way of teaching a child dental care and hygiene.


Many parents assume brushing of teeth is very easy and a child can easily do it; however parents are advised to spend a few seconds for brushing as children do not have proper dexterity to brush until they are five years or later. Flossing of teeth gains importance once a child has 2 teeth that touch each other.


Parents can be the best teachers for their children’s brushing lessons. The correct way to place the toothbrush is at 45 degrees with the bristles facing the gum. Start brushing by giving slight pressure on the tooth, brushing 2 or 3 teeth in up and down, left and right and rotatory movements. Repeat the procedure brushing the front teeth, back teeth, biting surfaces and the inner side of the teeth with back and forth scrubbing motion.


To conclude, parents you do owe a great gift of clean and white teeth to your children. Dental care and health help in avoiding infections and illnesses to many parts of our body; so let us all start teaching our children to brush early in life and contribute to their dental care and hygiene.   


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