Cavity Control Tips For Children
It is very common for kids to have dental cavities. This is because milk teeth in children are neglected by parents thinking that they are not permanent and will eventually fall off. If milk teeth have been affected by cavities, there is a possibility of permanent teeth too getting affected by them. Therefore, it is important to take proper measures to prevent cavities at an early stage. If left untreated at this stage, the permanent teeth may have mal-formation and stains due to infection.
Milk teeth have an important placing function for the alignment and positioning of the permanent teeth. Children can learn to speak correctly only with complete set of milk teeth.
■ Children should avoid consumption of food that contains sugar and starch as this food remains in grooves and in between teeth producing acid and plaque that attack teeth.
■ Your child should get a balanced diet of major food groups such as pulses, cereals, fruits, vegetables, milk and milk products. Milk and milk products are packed with calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other minerals. These nutrients help and protect against dental caries from a very young age. Eating well balanced diet gives the required nutrients and minerals to gum tissues and teeth. These in turn resist the infections that contribute to the gum disease.
■ Fruits like guava contain a very high nutritional value. As one takes a bite, it gives strength to teeth as well as essential minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, folate and vitamins A, C, and D that support the development of teeth and oral tissue.
■ Instead of drinking sugarcane juice, encourage children to chew the sugarcane as it makes the teeth and gums strong.
■ At night (for small babies) fill the bottle with water instead of milk while putting him or her to bed as the milk might remain in the mouth leading to infection and cavity problems.
■ Children who love chewing gums may be given ones that contain Xylitol (a sugar-free substitute used in chewing gums, mint and other candies) to minimise the tooth decay.
■ Cultivate the habit of drinking fruit juice in place of carbonated beverages at meals and use carbonated beverages in a limit until the baby is about two and a half years old as these beverages promote tooth decay.
■ For newborns and infants who don’t have teeth yet clean their mouth with a damp cloth after the feedings.
■ Give fluoride to the baby only if recommended by the paediatrician.
■ Regular dental check up is required to detect any tooth decay, unusual tooth pattern or oral hygiene.
■ Have baby’s first oral health risk assessment at six months and then a comprehensive examination by a dentist when he or she is two year old.
■ A strict no to carbonated drinks to your baby and give no more than 4 to 8 ounces of juice to the baby daily and that too only at meal time.
■ Never share utensils with the baby or suck on his or her pacifier of bottle, even for fun.
■ Regular visits to the dentist are a must for parents with small children.
■ Use fluoride toothpaste and alcohol free mouth wash with fluoride at night to rinse the mouth.
■ When baby’s teeth start touching each other, start flossing them daily.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna