A recent study undertaken by Kantar IMRB for Colgate-Palmolive (India) Ltd. unveiled that at least 8 out of 10 children in India suffer from oral health issues. It also pointed out that there is an urgent need to take immediate action in order to curb the scenario. The study included over 2,000 adults and around 1,080 children from various socio-economic backgrounds across metros and other major cities in India. The participants showed visible signs of poor oral health such as plaque accumulation, white spots on teeth, caries, gum inflammation, gum bleeding, and bad breath.
The study further revealed that East India and West India reported 89% and 88% of cases of oral health issues in children. Meanwhile, North India and South India showed 85% and 64% oral health illnesses among children. The study further went on to point out that 8 out of 10 children suffer from a plethora of oral health issues due to the frequent consumption of sweetened products. Due to that and several other reasons, around 44% of children showed signs of immediate major dental treatments like restoration, tooth extraction, and root canal as well.
Looking at the disturbing situation, as far as the deteriorating dental wellness among children is concerned, it is advisable that parents, as the first caregivers, should care for their child. However, due to other responsibilities, work commitments, and busy schedules, most parents are not able to concentrate on their child’s oral health and overall wellbeing.
There are some easy yet effective guidelines with which parents can ensure that their child’s dental care is in safer hands.
Leading dentists and dental caregivers are of the opinion that good dental care begins even before a baby’s first tooth develops. As teeth actually begin forming from the second trimester of pregnancy, it is essential that expecting parents care for their newborn right from the beginning by:
- Use a clean, moist washcloth to gently rub and clean baby’s gums to get rid of any bacterial growth.
- As the baby starts teething, use a good quality infant toothbrush and toothpaste (preferably fluoride variant, in the size of a rice grain) to gently brush their developing teeth.
- If two of the baby’s teeth are appearing, begin flossing between them.
- Train toddlers at the age of 2 years and above to spit while brushing, and not swallow the toothpaste.
- Supervising young toddlers below 8 years of age is very important, as they might swallow the toothpaste.
The right time to see a dentist
As per the recommendations by ADA (American Dental Association), parents should take their child to the dentist by their first birthday. That is, when the child is just about to complete their first year, parents must schedule an appointment with a leading dentist. That’s because it is just the right time for the parents as well as the child to learn proper techniques of brushing and flossing. Usually, the dentists are able to explain oral health care tips for the young ones.
On the other hand, such visits to the dentist right from the beginning, will only make it easier for your child to adapt to the dentist and the clinic-like atmosphere. Especially consult a dentist who has been trained to treat infants and young children. Pediatric dentists are the best when it comes to treating a plethora of oral health issues among kids of all ages.
As children keep growing, parents and caregivers should ensure that they plan out routine dental checkups and inculcate the same in their children. Routine oral health checkups can be done any time from once every 3 months to a year, depending upon the child’s oral health. Additionally, parents should also monitor their child’s eating habits and work together with the dentist to help resolve dental health issues.