Oral Hygiene: Tips To Keep Your Child's Teeth Clean and Strong

Oral Hygiene: Tips To Keep Your Child's Teeth Clean and Strong

When thinking about the Christmas season, all we can think about is stunning winter Christmas markets, delicious sweets, beautiful lighting, and a fantastic evening out with family and friends. Some of the delectable sweets that spring to mind include candy apples, fudge, gumdrops, candy canes, pudding, and sugar plums. And the list goes on. As the sweets' season soon approaches, how many sweets are too sweet for your little rockstars?

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While parents wonder when and how to begin encouraging their children to practise excellent dental hygiene. Many dentists stress that the earlier one begins instilling in children sound oral hygiene practises, the higher the likelihood that they will grow up to have healthy, strong, and attractive teeth.

Oral care at home

Taking care of a child's teeth from the time they are born is the most crucial aspect of oral hygiene. Strong permanent teeth are more likely to develop if the milk teeth are in good health. It's important to keep in mind that teaching kids basic dental practises includes having them brush their teeth twice a day, scheduling regular dental visits, and restricting in-between-meal snacking.

How long should children brush their teeth?

As per the NHS website, it is recommended that children and adults brush their teeth twice daily for about 2-4 minutes.

It is also recommended that one use toothpaste with about 1,350 to 1,500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride to keep one’s mouth and teeth healthy. Children under the age of 3 are advised to use toothpaste with a lower fluoride concentration of at least 1,000 ppm to clean their teeth and gums. Therefore, it is suggested that parents and adults regularly check the label when buying toothpaste for the family.

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Speaking about the quantity of toothpaste, kids under the age of 3 can use a smear of the kids’ toothpaste, while those up to the age of 7 should use a pea-sized amount of the regular paste to clean their mouth.

What foods and drinks are good for the teeth?

What time of the day one eats and drinks matters just as much as what one eats and drinks every day.

Below is a list of some of the best and worst food and drink options for healthy teeth.

Good for teeth:

Fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber.

Fiber acts like a scrubbing agent in the mouth when mixed with saliva. It not only offers nutrition to the body, but it's also great for overall oral health.


Water is essential for supporting dental health. It's the main component of saliva and crucial for the health of your teeth and gums.

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Dairy products

Dairy products without added sugar have many benefits. Cheese's calcium replaces minerals lost from the teeth while also stimulating saliva. In addition to providing calcium and phosphates, dairy products, including milk, yoghurt, and enriched milk, are a source of vitamin D, which helps the body's absorption of calcium.

Sugar-free chewing gums

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, it is suitable for a five-year-old to start chewing sugar-free gum.

Chewing sugar-free gum can help protect your teeth and gums in between meals when it may not be possible to brush with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

Nuts and mineral-rich foods

Nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts are great sources of calcium and vitamin D, among other essential vitamins. Additionally, adding mineral-rich foods like beef, eggs, potatoes, fish, green leafy vegetables, beans, whole grains, poultry, and tofu are also some of the key foods that provide vitamins D, C, and A.

Bad for teeth:

Sticky sweets

Sweets and medicines with refined sugar, like lollipops, caramel, and cough drops, are bad for your teeth. Gooey and sugary sweets are bad not only because of their sugar content but also for the amount of time they stay in your mouth because of their sticky nature. Therefore, make sure you and the kids rinse your mouths after having them.

Carbonated drinks and beverages

For children, teenagers, and adults, carbonated beverages make up one of the main sources of added sugar. Additionally, the phosphoric and citric acids in the majority of soft drinks erode tooth enamel, making them extremely bad for the teeth.

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Sugary vitamins

Vitamin water may also have the same amount of sugar as a bar of candy. Likewise, chewable vitamins, including multivitamins and vitamin C chewies, are particularly harmful to your teeth. They contain concentrated acid that has the propensity to stick to teeth.

Sticky dried fruits, starchy food, and ice

Crisps, chips, soft bread, rice, popcorn, or even dried fruits can easily get trapped between one’s teeth. While they might not necessarily be sweet, the starch in them may start converting to sugar. Similarly, chewing ice may be a common habit among many of us. However, regularly doing so can lead to the opening of tiny cracks in your teeth that could be harmful in the long run.

Acidic foods and drinks

Oranges, lemons, and grapefruit may all be beneficial additions to a healthy diet, but if they are eaten with a meal, the teeth should be cleaned. Citrus fruits shouldn't be sucked on, especially if you're using the home treatment of sucking on lemon wedges to whiten your teeth.

Being exposed to acidic meals and beverages might damage your teeth's delicate enamel because of their extremely acidic nature.

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Children love sweets, and so do we. However, the goal is to not restrict all that we eat. But to know how to take care of your teeth in order to have them for a good, long time and without any decay. Regularly chewing on sugar-free gum, flossing, or using water and mouthwash with fluoride to rinse your mouth would help clean your teeth and gums after every meal or snack.

Last but not least, brushing children's teeth twice a day, and informing them about good oral hygiene can assist them in learning and developing appropriate dental care habits from an early age.

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