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Dental Health Essentials for Babies, Toddlers and Kids

Posted on June 13 2022

Help your child establish good dental health habits from birth, such as teaching her how to brush her teeth correctly.

 

Minimise the likelihood of your child getting tooth decay by starting good oral habits from birth, such as tongue cleaning and brushing your little one’s teeth. Try these dental health essentials from Motherswork to care for your children’s oral health.

 

Dental Health Tips

Pearlie White’s All Natural Kids’ Toothpaste is fluoride-free and made with natural ingredients to protect your child’s tooth enamel.

 

First, refrain from giving your children sugary food and drinks, and use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Next, avoid feeding your babies and toddlers to sleep with a bottle in their mouths. Additionally, your child should have their own utensils, and bring your child to the dentist once they turn one.

 

Tongue Cleaning

Start cleaning your babies’ tongues after feeding to reduce plaque and bacteria. First, cradle your baby in one arm during cleaning, then use a slightly wet washcloth or gauze and silicone baby tongue cleaner to massage their gums, inner cheeks and tongue. Once your baby opens their mouth, gently put in your finger and go along the inner cheek.

 

Brushing Your Child’s Teeth

Try standing or sitting behind your child, preferably in front of a mirror so you can see your child’s mouth. Cup their chin in your hands and angle the toothbrush’s bristles towards the gums. Brush in gentle circles to clean the inner and outer sides of the gums and teeth, then brush back and forth on the teeth’s chewing surface. Afterwards, brush your child’s tongue. Try to get your child to spit out the toothpaste instead of swallowing it. Some ways to get your child to cooperate while cleaning teeth include singing while brushing, or letting your child play with a favourite toy.

 

Flossing Your Child’s Teeth

Around the ages of two to three, or when your child has two teeth that touch, start flossing your child’s teeth. They’ll need help until they’re eight to 10. Flossing removes debris, polishes tooth surfaces and controls bad breath, while removing plaque between the teeth and under the gums. Your child should floss once a day for two to three minutes, but you may want to start with a shorter timeframe and work up to it. Check with your child’s dentist or primary care provider to show you how to floss your child’s teeth. Alternatively, try a pre-threaded flosser or floss holder to help your children floss.

 

Tooth Brushing

Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste with your Foreo Issa Kids Electric Toothbrush.

 

Newborns

Start your newborns off with good oral hygiene, cleaning their mouths and gums with clean, moist gauze pads or washcloths. Continue doing this until their first tooth develops. Options include the NUK Oral Wipes, which you can use to remove mucus, phlegm or applying a solution. These 100 per cent cotton wipes use only purified water and can help reduce the breeding of bacteria in the mouth. Other options include Dr Brown's Tooth and Gum Wipes and the Pigeon Baby Tooth and Gum Wipes ($8.90 to $13.90).

 

Infants

Once the first teeth erupt, consider a finger brush like the NUK Oral Care Finger Brush ($12.90). With soft, germ-free and coating-free microfibers, adults can clean their babies’ mouth, teeth and massaging gums for teething pain relief. Another alternative is the Haakaa 360 Baby Silicone Toothbrush ($17.90) with a suction base. Use this to massage and clean their teeth and gums. Around eight to 12 months, with four to eight milk teeth, use Pigeon’s Lesson 2 Baby Training Toothbrush ($5.90) with fine elastomer bristle ends to gently clean your baby’s teeth twice daily. Another option is the Foreo Issa Mikro Baby Electric Toothbrush ($149), which precisely cleans your baby’s teeth and massages sensitive gums to soothe irritation.

 

Toddlers

Once they turn one year old, parents can help their toddlers use the Pigeon Electric Finishing Toothbrush ($29.90). After applying a pea-size amount of toothpaste to the bristles, gently brush each quadrant of your child’s mouth for half a minute for a total of two minutes. One AAA battery can last approximately 200 sessions. Other options include the Pigeon Lesson 3 Training Toothbrush ($5.90).

 

Preschoolers

Try ISSA Kids’ Electric Toothbrush ($174), which has soft silicone bristles, and micro-sweeping motions that help remove 30 per cent more plaque than manual toothbrushes. Hence, this also improves overall oral hygiene by 140 per cent. The toothbrush pulsates every 30 seconds, after which they should move it to a new quadrant in their mouths. After two minutes, Glee’s happy face lights up to signal your child is done. Conversely, a Glum face appears if your child brushes for less than two minutes or an interval or more than 12 hours. Even better, the toothbrush can be used 265 times after a one-hour charge.

 

Choosing Toothpaste

Brush your babies’ and toddlers’ teeth with just a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities and limit the growth of oral bacteria.

 

With Fluoride

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste once babies’ teeth emerge to support their dental health. Fluoride toothpaste can help prevent cavities, strengthen weakened and slow the loss of minerals from tooth enamel. Additionally, it can also limit the growth of oral bacteria and reverse early tooth decay. However, be sure to use just a rice grain-sized smear of toothpaste for babies and toddlers, so it’s safe even if your little ones swallow it. Try these fluoride toothpastes such as Pigeon Infant Tooth Gel and Children Toothgel ($6.90 to $7.90).

 

Fluoride-Free, Xylitol Toothpaste

In a July 2009 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, University of Washington researchers suggest giving teething babies and toddlers xylitol. Xylitol toothpastes can help prevent tooth decay, as it works as an antibacterial agent against cavity-causing organisms for their dental health. Some xylitol toothpastes include Pearlie White All Natural Enamel Safe Kids’ Toothpaste, NUK Baby Toothpaste, Jack N’ Jill Natural Toothpaste ($7.90 to $14.90).

 

Tooth Development and Growth Delay

Your child’s first teeth should start appearing from six months onwards.

 

By six to 10 months, your child’s first teeth should erupt, starting with the lower central incisors. Around eight to 12 months, then nine to 13 months, the next teeth, i.e., the top central and lateral incisors should emerge. After this, the lower lateral incisors should show up around 10 to 16 months. The first upper and lower molars show up around 13 to 19 months, followed by the canines around 16-23 months. Your child should have a full set of teeth by three years old.

 

Ways to Help Teething

As your babies start teething, you may notice a great amount of drooling, chewing on all sorts of objects, sore or tender gums, and a slight increase in temperature. They may also be more irritable or cranky and cry a lot more than usual. Contrary to popular opinion, teething does not cause fever and diarrhoea. Help your baby feel better by rubbing the gums with a clean finger, wet gauze, or chilled or cold spoon. You can also chill a teether or pacifier for your baby to suck on. Otherwise, try an over-the-counter pain medication such as baby or children’s Panadol or ibuprofen.

 

Relevant Reads: Teething and Good Dental Hygiene

Credits: RODNAE Productions, Pearlie White Global, Cheryl Wee, Better Health Channel

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