What Is The Right Age To Start Brushing? What Foods to Avoid for Dental Health?
Created by Megha Updated on Mar 07, 2019
“My child does not brush his teeth properly!”; “Is it necessary for my child to brush twice a day?”; “What is the right toothbrush to use?”; “What is the right way to brush?” And the questions around our child’s dental hygiene go on. When it comes to children’s health, we don’t want to slip up and the same rule applies to the child’s dental care as well. So, we rounded up all your concerns and got Parentune dental expert, Dr. Sonali Bassi to give us insightful tips and help us understand better the dos and don’ts of teeth-care.
What Is The Right Age To Start Brushing?
Don’t rush your little one to the bathroom as soon as you see two or three teeth in that little mouth—this could be as early as six or seven months of being born.
- Instead, use sterilized gauze to clean them twice a day; wet and rub across the new teeth, gently
- A brush is not to be introduced so early
- With newborns, if the child is on formula feed then you may clean the tongue with sterilized gauze to avoid any fungal infection growth
How To Choose The Right Toothbrush?
As soon as your child turns one, buy a brush with a very small head and very soft bristles (brushes are now available according to the age and include brushes with silicon spikes to massage the gums and then soft bristle ones for toddlers). [Explore: Bad Breath Causes & Prevention in Kids]
- In fact, the small-headed brush should be used until your child turns 10 or 12. The advantage being that the small-headed brush would reach the back teeth and corners of the mouth comfortably, else the teeth on the back do not get covered and would land up with cavities
- For starters, you can use a finger brush—a small toothbrush that can be worn on the index finger of the parent and gives parent better control to maneuver and reach inside the mouth to clean. Chances of injuries happening because of slippage of toothbrush get minimized. There are many brands providing this including Nuby, Mothercare, and MeeMee
How To Choose The Right Toothpaste?
Avoid using fluoridated toothpaste for children below four as at this age they have not learned to wash their mouths and spit properly. Fluoride, if ingested, could be harmful. There are lots of brands in the market that sell non-fluoridated toothpaste specially designed for children such as Pigeon and Chicco. [Explore: New Borns Dental care After & Before First Tooth]
What Foods Should Be Avoided For Good Dental Health?
Anything that sticks to the teeth causes cavities; even a salty biscuit could prove to be unhealthy.
- However, this is completely unavoidable as, these days, children frequently go out either to birthday parties, picnics or movies
- But if your child is at home ensure he has something nutritious and fibrous. Say you will get that cake, but first, we have to eat something healthy
- This way the child’s stomach becomes full and he would have less of junk food. It could be a carrot, cucumber, any seasonal fruit or an apple also
- As we all know an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
So apple helps in keeping the teeth clean as well. And there is no alternative to brushing. You have to make your child brush every morning and night to avoid cavities.
Break Those Bad Habits
Is your child sucking his thumb in sleep? If your child has turned four plus and has still not outgrown these habits, you need to see the dentist. Because till the age of six, the permanent teeth set in and these sorts of habits could really change the shape of the jaw and the orientation of the teeth coming out. Newer techniques and innovations come to help by involving habit breaking appliances. There is thumb sucking habit breaking appliance, which can be attached to the jaw for four to six months and is known to help.
Get Rid Of The Bottle
Bottle feeding is not only not-healthy for an infant, but also exposes the little one to a host of dental issues, ranging from, unhygienic dental health, caries, and even fungal infections such as milk thrush. In children, who take the top feed, from a bottle, the sweet milk remains glued to the teeth long after the milk has been drunk. This leads to problems as most children have milk at night, and do not rinse their mouths post the feed. Stop the bottle as soon as possible and ensure your child washes her mouth properly after a feed.
Some Do’s & Don’ts For Healthy Dental Care
Do’s Dental Care:
- Brushing at least twice a day
- Flossing is very beneficial and must be inculcated at a very young age
- No compromise in night brushing
- A dental check needs to be done every six months
- Advocate consumption of fibrous foods like apples, oranges, carrots, and cucumber
- If required do sealants and a fluoride treatment as recommended by the dentist
- Have a healthy, well-balanced diet
- Rinse after every meal with water
- Use a small headed soft toothbrush
Don'ts Dental Care:
- Avoid giving milk in a bottle to the baby while sleeping
- Avoid sticky foods like cookies, sweets, chocolates and aerated drinks
- Don't use mouthwash in case of children, the best mouthwash for them is water
- Do not use fluoride toothpaste with children till they learn how to spit out
- Avoid adding sugar in foods
- Avoid using a very old toothbrush
- Cleaning the tongue is good but this should be done very gently
Did you find this blog on dental care for your child, useful? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section!
| Apr 09, 2015
Thank for sharing this information. Iam really worried about the dental care of my lil one. He is 16 mths now and still he does not allow me to brush his teeth or clean his tongue. Also we have put him into the habit of having his dinner early and sleep by 10pm max because of which he feels hungry at night and wants milk. Feeding milk while asleep is only possible by bottle . Its advised not to bottle feed while asleep . Please suggest how do i manage feeding him at night and also encourage him to brush teeth and clean his tongue.
| Apr 10, 2015
Hi Ira... first of all just want to know do you breast feed your child as he is only 16 months old, am askin... the dentist who I spoke to had mentioned that when toddlers are been breast fed it's okay if you don't brush their teeth as mothers milk is known to be the best healthy thing and has the ability to fight any bacteria or germs. You can do one more thing why don't you put few apples in your bedroom. Apple will not harm his teeth. So when your son feels hungry You can cut small pieces (chewable) so that his hunger dies down... don't worry this waking up at night thing will ease off once he turns 3. Hope this proves to be helpful
| Apr 13, 2015
Hey My boy is on formula milk. He feels hungry in the mid of the night. He is half asleep that time and feeding him with fruits or any other semi solids might choke him so i didn't try giving him any solids . Will try once lets see how it goes. Thanks for the suggestion Megha :)
| Apr 14, 2015
Ira Srivastava - Dr. Sonali Bassi had shared in one of her blogs something on these lines. Please read point#8 in this blog from her. May just be helpful. https://www.parentune.com/parent-blog/dental-health-during-holidays/114
| Apr 16, 2015
Thanks for such an important information. My baby boy will turn 1 in the next month. He is completely breastfeed. I just want to ask that I give him water to drink in the bottle in which generally mothers give their baby milk. Is giving water in the bottle can also cause cavities in his teeth? Please suggest!!
| Aug 17, 2015
My daughter is two years old and still she has a habit of having milk in the middle of the night. I tried to stop giving her bottle but she cries a lot of I don't give her. In the day time she drinks milk in a glass but when I try the same at night she don't.... pls suggest what shall I do
| Sep 16, 2018