Parents encouraged to brush children’s teeth

Capt. S.Thikkurissy
435th Dental Squadron

***image1***I have a confession to make – my 2 1/2 year-old son does not always like to have his teeth brushed, and has been known to throw the occasional temper tantrum as a result; however, this doesn’t stop us from brushing his teeth.
He has also been known to throw food (especially chicken and rice) on the walls; however, this doesn’t stop us from feeding it to him.
Parents have long been the bringers of unwanted “gifts” for children – from naptime and broccoli to curfews. In fact some children act like parents are using broccoli in their mouths when they have their teeth brushed. (If you are using broccoli – I would recommend trying a toothbrush).
Dental caries is a chronic bacterial infection. Children can be very susceptible to this type of infection, which causes “cavities.”
Dental caries not only leads to the need for “fillings,” but also can lead to premature baby tooth loss, infections which affect grown-up tooth development and dental space loss.
The best way to prevent dental caries is through good oral hygiene. This means occasionally having to brush your child’s teeth when they don’t want you to.
The benefit your child will get from having their teeth brushed far outweighs the risk of a temper tantrum.
While children usually do not get their first teeth until about 6 to 12 months, an oral health regimen is something that needs to be in place from day one.
Parents should massage and clean their infant’s gums with a moist washcloth. Once a child does get teeth, it is vital they be kept clean and free from plaque.
It is also important to determine with your child’s pediatrician and pediatric dentist the need for and preferred method of fluoride supplementation.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry currently recommends that a dentist see all children by age 1 or with the eruption of the first tooth.
This is not so much to “treat cavities,” as it is to provide the parents with information regarding the development of their child’s teeth, oral hygiene instruction, fluoride consideration and to provide parents a forum to ask any questions about what to expect in their child’s oral development.
Children are often creatures of routine. It can be useful to incorporate brushing into a child’s pre-bedtime regimen. For example brushing after story time, or immediately before bedtime can help children develop successful oral hygiene behaviors, as they get older.
Sometimes playing a song on the radio helps distract children, or even making it a game to see who can do better at brushing, the child or parent. (A note – do not take this competition too seriously and mock your child when you brush better than them).
The 435th Dental Squadron provides well baby visits from birth until approximately 3 to 4 years old. Children can also be scheduled for exams and cleanings every 6 months.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Pediatric Dentistry Element at 479-2192 or 06371-462192.