Dentist offers good oral hygiene tips to teach your children

Dentist offers good oral hygiene tips to teach your children

Dr Minkie Pula gives advice on how parents can promote good oral hygiene in the home to ensure their kids have strong and healthy teeth.

Family brushing their teeth
Family brushing their teeth/ iStock

Taking good care of your teeth and mouth is vital in ensuring that you don't suffer from tooth decay or other oral health problems. 

Poor oral hygiene can cause bad breath, gum disease, tooth decay, and dental cavities. 

This is why it is crucial for parents to start educating their children about oral hygiene from a young age. 

READ: Should you wet your toothbrush before brushing your teeth?

Dr Pula, a dentist for over ten years, says to promote good oral hygiene in children, parents should start by cleaning their kids' mouths from a young age before the teeth develop. 

"I personally recommend the use of cotton wool with clean water to wipe the gums," says Dr Pula.

Even when the kids have teeth, Dr Pula says parents or caregivers should continue to use clean water and cotton wool until the age where a child is old enough to spit. 

"If they have teeth, you can use toothbrush without toothpaste if they can't spit," says the doctor. This is because if you use toothpaste before they can spit it out, there is a risk that they can swallow it. 

"If they swallow the fluoride, they can develop brown stain on their teeth (fluorosis)," warns the doctor. 

READ: Three natural ways to whiten your teeth at home

She also adds that parents should refrain from using adult toothpaste when brushing kids' teeth. She says this is not safe and parents should look for age-appropriate toothpaste for their kids. 

One of the things that plays a huge role in dental care is the food that we eat. The doctor warns that parents should be mindful of what they feed their children as this can affects their teeth. 

She says children should limit or stay away from eating sugary food like sweets. 

READ: How to prevent tooth decay in children

"Those who are bottle feeding should not make their baby sleep with the bottle in the mouth," she adds. 

Dr Pula says that parents should make their children familiar with visiting the dentist from a young age for check-ups, not just when there is a problem. 

"We want the kids to get used to the dental environment," says Dr Pula. 

"Most of the procedures for kids are painless but it is the strange environment that scares them," says the doctor. 

She says parents must move away from using phrases that scare the kids when it comes to visiting the dentist. Statements such as "if you eat sweets, I will take you to the dentist and she will give you the injection" are a no-no. 

Dr Pula says all members of the family must brush their teeth twice a day and floss in order to ensure their teeth are clean.  

She also advises a visit to the dentist every six months. 

Image courtesy of iStock/ monkeybusinessimages

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