The dental practices our children are accustomed to at home can be as important as the annual or twice yearly trips to the dentist. As parents, we often have to learn what to do for our kids on the go. However, sometimes we might learn these lessons a little too late, causing us to pay the price. Dr Robin Baek of Garden Dental gives some dental tips for all School Notices Asia parents based on the most frequently asked questions and through some of his personal experiences.
- Flossing is a simple technique that does wonders. Many parents believe flossing is for grownups and hence might neglect this important habit for their children. Hence, many kids end up in the dentist due to cavities that are unnoticed until significant damage is already done. It is advisable to start flossing as early as when you notice tight contact between your child’s teeth. Instilling a routine of flossing will benefit your kids for life time.
- Start fluoride treatment at around the age of 5 to 6 years old. As the first permanent teeth starts to erupt, the fluoride treatment will help with strengthening of teeth structures and preventing cavities. This short treatment can be done by applying a gel topically at the dentist.
- Encourage them to brush their teeth by using creative and fun ways until habits are established. Make sure to monitor their brushing techniques and guide them to improve on a regular basis. Don’t be fooled by how long they take in the bathroom!
- If your child has just taken a sweet treat, it is recommended to wait 30 minutes before brushing their teeth- immediate brushing can actually cause more damage. Cavity inducing bacteria produces acid when sugar is present and demineralizes the teeth surfaces. Only after some time, our teeth are able to remineralize.
- Always always always brush before bed time. Kids sleep between 8-10 hours a day and during this time, our natural cleansing ability decreases. Drinking from a sippy cup before sleep is also not advisable as it can cause greater damage.
- Plan ahead by taking a full mouth x-ray to check for any missing or malpositioning of permanent teeth. They are much easily corrected when spotted early on. Xrays can be taken from the age of 6.
- If there is any significant misalignment of jaws, interceptive braces or orthodontic appliances can guide proper growth. Treatment can start from the age of 6 and may only take a few months.
- If a baby tooth needs to be removed early, make sure to use a space maintainer to secure space for permanent teeth to erupt. This will avoid complicated braces later on.
- If your kid plays any contact sports, make sure they wear mouth guards!
- Wisdom teeth do not always need to be removed, but do check if they are in a risky position. Risk assessments are done through full mouth x rays at around the age of 15-16 years old.
Last but not least, be a role model for your kids. Children learn best by example. They’ll thank you in the future.
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