As a prosthodontist, I don’t routinely see children in my practice. You may wonder why I want to talk about dental care for children. Even though this is not my main domain of practice in general, except for the ones with early onset, genetically related diseases, good dental care for youngsters lay the foundation for healthy mouth for adult population, which constitutes most of our patients. Many of the serious adult oral diseases can be traced back to different levels of lack of care in childhood.
First of all, if a child develops good oral hygiene habits, he/ she is much more likely to adhere to the same throughout their life. Second, baby teeth have important role in facial growth and future health of adult teeth. Children who experience problems with baby teeth, such as caries, infection and crowding, are much more prone to dental problems as adult. Last but not least, having a full set of beautiful teeth builds confidence and is crucial for positive self image.
How do we take care of our kids’ teeth? It is quite simple. Starting from around 6-month-old, we want to use a gauze or soft infant brush to clean our babies’ gum each day. This makes them feel brushing is a normal daily routine. As soon as baby teeth come out, we want to brush and floss them. Floss? Yes ! baby teeth have larger gaps and are usually easier to floss. Routine brushing and flossing 1 to 2 times a day is the most ideal. Be smart about diet choice, avoid high sugar content food and beverages. Most kids love to have some sugar and it is okay to indulge our little ones sometimes. The key is moderation in amount and condensation in frequency. That means, instead of eating large amount of candies, consider a bit of candies with fruits and yogurt. Instead of constantly sucking on lollipops all day, set a snack time and enjoy the sweets only during that time followed by brushing or rinsing.
I believe there 2 things we can do for our children that will influence the rest of their lives. One is good education, the other is good health. Most oral health diseases are preventable, and it takes little efforts as long as routines are developed. I look up my pediatric dentistry colleagues for their wonderful work to ensure many in our adult patient population has healthy beautiful smile.
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