As a parent, ensuring your child’s dental health is important. One of the most common dental problems in children is tooth decay, which is caused by harmful bacteria. The mouth as we all know is a haven of bacteria both good and bad, the key to good oral health is keeping the balance between them tipped towards the good bacteria. We cannot make our mouth bacteria-free since the oral microbiome is very important to maintain both oral and gut health, but we do have a responsibility to ensure that we keep these bacteria friendly and playing a positive role in our child’s dental health. There are some steps you can take to prevent bacteria from entering your children’s teeth and keep their smiles healthy. (Also read: Diabetes to dementia, surprising things your teeth can tell about your health )
Tips to keep bacteria away from your child’s teeth
Dr. Diksha Tahilramani Batra, a prosthodontist, implantologist and smile design specialist, shared with HT Lifestyle, some tips and strategies for preventing bacteria from harming your child’s teeth.
1. Using fluoride toothpaste
The common misconception is to use fluoride-free toothpaste for kids but fluoride in low concentrations as found in toothpastes is very beneficial for protecting the teeth from cavities. It is by limiting the bacterial attack on teeth by bonding with the calcium ions in the enamel and also by raising the pH of saliva. Bacterial activity is limited or impaired in high or neutral pH.
2. Introducing mouthwash or oral rinses at an early age
Teaching your child to rinse and spit can really help in maintaining hygiene. If there is a high tendency for decay either genetically or based on other dietary and hygiene habits then using mouthwash is a very convenient way of ensuring that the bacterial concentrations especially of decay-causing and gum disease-causing bacteria are kept low.
3. Brushing twice
The act of brushing disturbs what we call the biofilm of bacteria on teeth which if left unchecked for over 24 hours results in slow acid erosion of teeth, hence the practice of brushing twice daily even if your child eats some sweets.
The highest occurrence of decay is usually found between teeth as these areas are harder to clean. If a flossing device or gadget is introduced early on a child can then learn to protect their teeth from harbouring foods and therefore bacteria in areas which are hard to clean.
5. Healthy diet
A diet which is not too sweet or processed is ideal for keeping the pH of your saliva high and preventing any damage to the child’s teeth. While easier said than done, our kids should be taught to eat green leafy vegetables and milk products rich in calcium ranging from unsweetened milk to cheese.
Use these simple dental habits as early as possible with your young ones to ensure good oral health and hygiene keeping the balance of the good and bad bacteria in the mouth.