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  • Writer's pictureCelso Soares

Oral hygiene

It's never too early to encourage children to have healthy oral hygiene habits. Your child's teeth are at risk of decay as soon as they come in. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, dental caries in children, also known as early childhood caries, is the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States. In some cases, severe decay can result in tooth loss. The good news is that tooth decay is completely preventable. So what can you do to establish good childhood oral health and hygiene for your child? Just follow some basic guidelines.

Eruption of milk teeth

Check your child's teeth. Generally, the first baby tooth erupts between 6 and 9 months of age, and by age 3, your child should have 20 teeth. If the first tooth does not erupt by 9 months, you should consult your pediatrician. Healthy baby teeth are white without stains or discolorations, and healthy gums are smooth and pink. If your child's teeth are stained, make an appointment with the dentist. The American Dental Association recommends that you take your child to a dental appointment 6 months after the first tooth appears, no later than his or her first birthday.

Cleaning baby teeth for proper oral health

From birth to 12 months, you should carefully wipe the baby's gums with a clean washcloth or gauze pad. When the first tooth appears, clean its surface with a baby toothbrush and water. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the best time to clean your baby's teeth is after their first meal in the morning and before

to sleep.

For children 12-24 months, use a child-sized toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that fluoride is a safe, natural substance that is very effective in preventing tooth decay. If you don't live in a community that supplements drinking water with fluoride, your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe a fluoride supplement. For children at low risk of developing early childhood caries, supplements are not recommended and other sources of fluoride should be sought.

Brushing and flossing is a very important part of your oral hygiene routine.

your child's child; therefore, it is critical to use the proper technique. To brush your child's teeth:

Position the toothbrush at a 45° angle to the gums.

Move the brush gently back and forth.

Brush all surfaces of each tooth (external, internal and chewing).

To brush the inner surface of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and gently brush up and down.

Brush your tongue to remove any bacteria.

To floss your child's teeth:

Cut about 18 inches of dental floss.

Wrap the ends of the floss around your middle fingers.

Hold the floss firmly between your thumbs and index fingers and carefully insert it between your teeth.

Bend the floss into a C-shape and gently move it up and down, keeping it pressed against the tooth.

Floss all teeth and don't forget to go behind the back teeth.

Flossing should only begin when your child has two teeth in contact, which is usually around two to two and a half years of age. Although children can brush their teeth on their own by age 6, they often struggle to floss until around age 8 to 10. A great tool that will help your child as they learn to floss is the floss holder. For older children, tying the ends of a piece of floss to create a loop of about 30 cm will allow them to pinch the floss between their thumb and index finger, making it easier to use proper technique.

Most importantly, take care of your own teeth. The example is worth more than words. You and your child can brush and floss together. Child oral hygiene doesn't have to be an unpleasant task. Instead, it can be a fun, bonding activity between you and your child.

Source: Colgate

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