Childhood is a critical period for human beings in terms of physical development and growth. During the toddler to grade school period (3-11 years of age), it is essential to provide children with the care and attention they require as well as incorporate healthy lifestyle habits into their daily routines, ultimately laying the foundation for their future well-being.
This approach extends to oral hygiene and dental care, a part of general health that children and parents have a tendency to take lightly. As we will explore shortly, there are numerous myths and misconceptions that result in this prevalent relaxed attitude and the consequences can be severe.
Misconceptions About Kids’ Dental Hygiene
Here are some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions surrounding the dental hygiene of children –
- A common mistake made my many people is the blind assumption that tooth decay and other dental ailments are primarily caused by old age. This is incorrect and children are as susceptible to oral ailments as any senior citizen.
- An even more frequent and flawed reasoning offered by parents and kids is that there’s no real reason to worry about kids’ teeth as they are temporary and the milk teeth will fall out inevitably in the future anyway.
- Children do not need to visit the dentist as frequently as adults and their dental care can be carried out at home.
On the contrary, the childhood period between 5-11 years of age is when kids teeth need to be protected and watched over. The above myths are particularly wrong because –
- While it’s true that teeth suffer wear and tear as the years pass, the jaws, gums and teeth of children are not fully developed and lack strength. Tooth decay is just as likely, if not more probable, in children.
- Milk teeth (or primary teeth) are only 20 in number. These teeth are significantly weaker than permanent teeth and are at risk to fall out. If you observe a tooth eruption chart you will notice that there’s a fixed natural timetable for permanent teeth to grow and surface. Primary teeth falling out ahead of schedule are likely to result in difficulty biting and chewing food and cause discomfort and inconvenience.
- Primary teeth are also much more at risk of cavities and damage. If left untreated these can affect the root and dental canal of a child’s teeth.
- Many children face incorrect tooth and jaw alignment, irregular growth of teeth and overbite. This usually requires braces or mouth guards to correct. Visiting a dentist regularly is absolutely vital for children, as a dentist can identify growth defects early and take the necessary precautions before it is too late. Aged based dental defects have a deadline and cannot be completely rectified without surgical procedures if not addressed during the developmental stage.
Now that you’re aware of the misconceptions surrounding toddlers’ and kids’ dental hygiene and the consequences of the same, let’s take a closer look at what needs to be done to avoid these potential risks!
Dental Care Tips For Kids
Oral hygiene for children is all about cultivating the right habits at an early age but at the same time, applying them in a gentle manner that is mindful of their comparatively delicate teeth and oral features.
Dental Care Tips For Children Include –
- Encourage your children to brush teeth twice a day at the very least or after every meal if possible! Flossing is also recommended but only between two teeth that touch!
- Choose your child’s dental care tools with care. Soft bristled toothbrushes and milder toothpastes are the way to go.
- Regulate children’s dessert and sugar consumption. Most children have a sweet tooth and consume candy, toffee, chocolates and snacks throughout the day. Combined with less than ideal oral hygiene practices, this is a recipe for tooth decay.
- Ensure that children’s diet includes sufficient amounts of calcium, vitamins and minerals. These are essential for strengthening teeth and proper development.
- Visit a dentist regularly for checkups. Dentists do a much more thorough job of cleaning teeth and can also identify growth related defects early and take the necessary measures.
- Avoid using powerful cleaning and whitening products, especially on primary teeth. Always check with your dentist before resorting to these products.
The above listed measures enable children to live healthy and happy childhoods while also securing the future of the teeth, helping them have strong teeth and proper oral hygiene as they grow.
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