Last week, we discussed the process and periods of teeth development in children. We go further today and discuss additional aspects of dental care and hygiene that may be beneficial to your child. One thing that may vary in children is teeth sizes. Teeth vary slightly from person to person in their shape and size, and they may be reshaped by a dentist to resemble normal teeth. During teething, some children experience discomfort and may have disturbed sleep, eating problems and may be restless and cranky. Teething is often incorrectly blamed for some problems like diarrhoea, vomiting and fever. The discomfort associated with teething can be relieved to a certain extent by using teething gels, which are basically anti-inflammatory analgesics usually massaged over the gums.
Many moms often wonder how to clean a child’s teeth. You can clean infant’s teeth with a soft cloth wrapped around your index finger. Wet the cloth and rub gently over the teeth to clean them. Small soft brushes that can be inserted over your fingers are available in the supermarkets and pharmacies that can be used to clean the teeth. A baby-size tooth brush may be introduced at around 12 months of age, encouraging the child to use the brush himself. Though your child may play with it rather than brush his teeth, it will ensure good lifelong tooth hygiene habits in your child. You may then properly brush the child’s teeth for him. Initially for a toddler, a wetted toothbrush without tooth paste is sufficient to brush the teeth. Once the child has learnt to rinse his mouth and spit, you can provide age appropriate fluoride toothpaste as from three years of age. If you think your child may swallow the toothpaste, you can use a non-fluoridated one till he learns to spit it out. Fluorides used in toothpastes have the ability to get incorporated into the tooth structure and make the teeth more resistant to dental decay, and may even arrest progression of early dental caries. Train your older child to brush his teeth both mornings soon after getting up and just before going to bed at night.