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Are you paying enough attention to your kids teeth? Play by the rules

Unfortunately, we seldom pay enough attention to the dental care of our children, thinking that by only encouraging them to brush their teeth we can sleep with a clear conscience

Ingy Deif, Friday 4 Feb 2011
precious smile

Although no parent cannot endure the very thought of his little ones inflicted by severe and piercing pain, and although toothache fits exactly into the previous description, unfortunately, we seldom pay enough attention to the dental care of our children.

"Just because your child's pearly whites will wind up with the Tooth Fairy one day doesn't mean you should treat them like temps," says Dr. Osama El Shahawy, Pediatric Dentist and CEO of Esthetica Dental Hospital. "Healthy baby teeth are essential for helping kids learn to chew, speak clearly, and smile with confidence, and for ensuring that their permanent teeth come in properly. Although parents pay close attention to a toddler's every sniffle, they often overlook their oral health."

According to El Shahawy, dental disease is the single most common childhood illness and a 2007 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that cavities among young kids are on the rise; 28 percent of them have cavities in their baby teeth. For your child, that could mean a trip to the dentist for scary drilling. The good news: Tooth decay is almost totally preventable -- as long as you take good care of your child's choppers.

In accordance with such an important issue, Dr. El Shahawy highlights to Ahram Online the golden rules of maintaing a dashing, healthy smile for your kid as follows:

Remember, a child's dental care begins before birth

A child's teeth form between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, so an expectant mother must consume plenty of calcium-rich foods such as leafy greens and dairy or soy products.

Just because you can't see your baby's teeth doesn't mean they aren't there

At birth, your baby has 20 primary teeth, some of which are almost completely formed in the jaw. The first four teeth will usually erupt when the baby is between 6 months and 1 year, but that doesn't mean you can't do anything in the meantime. Simply wiping a baby's gums with a clean gauze pad after feeding will remove harmful plaque and bacteria.

Take your child to the dentist by his/her first birthday

A dentist will check your 1-year-old for tooth decay, as well as identify fluoride needs and address any potentially dangerous habits such as thumb sucking.

Don't use toothpaste for children under 2

As soon as the first teeth appear, brush teeth with a little bit of water. After children have reached the age of 2, toothpaste can be introduced in pea-sized amounts.

Teach your children the proper brushing techniques

Most children will be able to brush their own teeth by age 6 or 7. Select for them a brush that has soft, rounded bristles and teach them to use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Show them how to use circular brush strokes to reach all surfaces of teeth, and make sure they spit out the toothpaste and rinse with water after brushing to avoid swallowing any toothpaste. Brush your teeth twice a day. An adult should help at least one of those times until the child has the skills and dexterity to do the job well by him or herself.

Don't forget the floss

As soon as any two teeth touch, make sure that you use floss to clean between your child's teeth. This is the only way to avoid decay in places where a toothbrush can't reach.

Make trips to the dentist fun for your child

It is important for your child to have a good attitude toward dental visits. Be positive and remind your child that the dentist is a friendly doctor who is helping to take care of his or her teeth. Set a good example yourself by brushing and flossing twice a day and visiting the dentist regularly.

Take an active role in your child's oral health

You should always inform the dentist as to the status of your child's health. Tell the dentist if your child is ill, what medications your child may be taking and if your child has any known drug allergies.

Seal decay away! Sealants prevent decay. A sealant is a hard plastic that is bonded into the grooves of the biting surfaces of back permanent teeth. The teeth should be sealed as soon as possible after they come in.

Avoid too much junk food and sugar drinks like cola or soda. If you want to spoil your child’s teeth, let him/her eat junk food and wash it down with soda. So, avoid these products.

Never put a baby to bed with a bottle of any liquid other than water

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