As your little baby’s teeth begin to spurt one after the other, you must have had several doubts and queries about how to protect and care for your baby’s set of pearly whites.
Dr. Ekta and Dinesh Hingorani, founders of Dental Kraft, one of Pune’s leading kids friendly dental clinic, answer the frequently asked questions by moms.
1) When is the right time to begin brushing a baby’s teeth?
You should start cleaning your baby’s mouth even before teeth come out. Use a damp gauze wrapped around your finger to clean your baby’s mouth after each feed. Finger brush which is made of soft rubber and worn over the finger can also be used for this purpose. You can graduate to toothbrush when the first set of teeth erupt. Baby’s toothbrush should have extremely soft bristles, a small head and long handle. Initially you can use a wet toothbrush and slowly move to using kids toothpaste to clean teeth.
2) What is the right way of brushing a baby’s teeth?
Brush your baby’s teeth twice a day. Use a very small amount(size of rice grain) of toothpaste. Brush outside, top and inside the surface of your baby’s teeth. Previously non fluoridated toothpastes were recommended for kids but now it has been suggested that fluoride containing toothpastes, which have added benefits of preventing cavities can be used for babies. Do not worry if they swallow toothpaste as the quantity used is very less. Probably at 2 years of age they can be trained to spit out the toothpaste.
3) Are there food items that boost oral health?
Foods which are high in calcium like leafy greens, cheese and yogurt are good for oral health. Yogurt additionally acts as a probiotic thereby increasing number of good bacteria and reducing the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Cheese also is known to increase the ph of the mouth thus reducing the levels of acids which cause tooth decay. Eating crunchy and fibrous food like apples and carrots also is beneficial because they increase saliva flow in the mouth which washes away bacteria. Cashew and almonds are also good for your oral health as they are known to have bacteria fighting properties. Lastly water is very important as a dry mouth can lead to lots of cavities.
4) Are there any food items that must be avoided to maintain oral health in kids?
Oranges, lemons and other citrus fruits are loaded with Vitamin C but they are acidic too. Hence having too much of them may cause eroding of enamel of the teeth. Carbonated drinks are again acidic and lead to tooth decays. Ditto for candies too. There is a common misconception that if you brush your teeth immediately after having the above mentioned things your teeth are safe, but this may inversely cause further damage because acid produced by these items is already present on your teeth which when combined with physical action of immediate brushing would soften your enamel even more and make it prone to develop cavities. Apart from these white bread is also bad for teeth as saliva breaks it down into sugary starch which is again harmful to teeth.
5) What should one look for when choosing a toothpaste for a child?
Previously it was suggested that kids toothpastes should not have fluoride as fluoride if ingested in large quantities can lead to systemic side effects in kids. But with modifications made, it is recommended now that we use fluoridated toothpaste for kids but use very small quantity of it ( size of rice grain) till kids learn to spit out the toothpaste after brushing. Flavors go a long way to increase kids compliance towards brushing. Hence choose fun flavors for them like watermelon or bubble gum.
6) Tips to maintain good oral hygiene in kids
Apart from brushing well to cleanse your mouth and eating healthy, there are other factors to be kept in mind. Do not put infants to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula or juice. Sugary liquids cling to infant’s teeth thereby feeding bacteria which cause tooth decay. Also, a pacifier must be avoided as it can cause misalignment of teeth and may change the shape of the mouth. After giving kids medicines which are sweet and syrupy, kids should be encouraged to rinse their mouth with water to wash off the syrup from the teeth.
7) Myths about oral hygiene
A. Flossing is not important- if you don’t floss, you don’t cleanse roughly 33% of your tooth surfaces.
B. The more you brush the healthier your teeth will be – over brushing may lead to wearing away of tooth enamel.
C. Milk teeth are not important – milk teeth are important and go a long way in having health well aligned permanent teeth.
About Dental Kraft
Dental Kraft is a family oriented dental clinic located in Pune. Dr Dinesh and Ekta Hingorani use the latest technology to provide utmost comfort and satisfaction to their patients.