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Learning to properly brush their teeth every day after the main meals, as if it were a game, is essential for children to acquire good dental hygiene habits. In this way, they will avoid accumulating plaque that can lead to tooth decay. Completing this hygiene at home with a dental cleaning at the clinic once a year are the best weapons available to fight against childhood cavities.
Brushing the teeth and massaging the gums should begin from the moment of birth as a preventive measure against the possible appearance of cavities. From the year on, we can start teaching children so that they can clean their teeth themselves.
Babies from 0 to 12 months. Between 4 and 6 months of age, the first teeth usually appear on the baby's gums. To clean it, parents should wrap a gauze pad around one of their fingers and moisten it in warm water. Afterwards, it should be gently passed over the entire surface of the baby's teeth. It is important to also review the gums with a gentle massage. The available studies on dental hygiene account for significant differences in the age of onset of cavities, depending on when children begin to brush their teeth.
- Start brushing before the year: 12 percent cavities
- Beginning of brushing between the year and 2 years: 19 percent cavities
- Start brushing after 2 years: 34 percent cavities There are no studies on the use of gauze or wet tissues. Therefore, the recommendation is to start brushing from the eruption of the first teeth
Children older than 3 years. This stage constitutes the most important period of training and we must take advantage of it so that the child performs a correct oral hygiene technique throughout his life. The brushes should be soft, with soft bristles so that the gums are not damaged until they control the pressure that must be exerted and the toothpaste adapted to children with fluoride and fruity flavors. Children should be taught to clean their teeth all over their faces as if it were a game. Parents are on a mission to teach this habit by playing.
The healthiest recommendation is that children brush their teeth at least 2 times a day. This study has shown that children who washed with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day increased the fraction of cavities prevented by 14 percent, compared to those who washed only once a day. In summary: N
Children between 6 months and 3 years:
- Dental cleaning from the eruption of the first tooth.
- Carry out cleaning at least 2 times a day.
- Use fluoride paste depending on the risk of cavities in the child and always supervised.
Children older than 3 years:
- Dental cleaning at least 2 times a day.
- Use 1,000 ppm fluoride paste.
- Supervised dental cleaning up to 8 years of age.
Horizontal technique. It is a simple technique and, for some dentists, the most recommended for a first phase of initial learning in children. It simply consists of moving the toothbrush across the surface of the teeth with horizontal movements.
Circular or Fones technique. This technique is the most recommended for younger children, since they have less dexterity when brushing teeth. It consists of wide circular movements, which are carried out with the child's mouth closed, covering from the edge of the gum of the upper tooth to the lower one. With this technique the plaque is removed and the gums are massaged at the same time.
Vertical technique. It consists of brushing the teeth on all their faces from top to bottom and from bottom to top, first on the inside and then on the outside. The base of the teeth should be cleaned with horizontal movements.
From 6 or 7 years old, children can already have a first dental cleaning, although it will never be as exhaustive as that performed on an adult. To perform it, the dentist uses a special brush, similar to an electric toothbrush, with a fluoridated paste with special emphasis on the interdental spaces. Ultrasound is usually not done to remove tartar. This cleaning should be done once a year.
Wearing a beautiful, white and healthy smile significantly improves the image. However, it is important to wait until age 16 to undergo teeth whitening techniques because whitening products are a bit harsh. In general, tooth whiteners penetrate several layers of the tooth and can cause discomfort even if they contain potassium nitrate, which is a calming substance. In-clinic teeth whitening cleans the dentin, which is the layer before the nerve. Whitening is indicated in 90 percent of cases, but not in children, until they are 16 or 17 years old.
Advice: Gustavo Camañas, dentist and medical director of Vitaldent.
You can read more articles similar to Children's dental hygiene and regular cleanings in the clinic, in the On-Site Dental Care category.