“Doc, my 4 year old brushes twice a day, even then he gets cavities, why?”
It’s a very frequently asked question to us. Yes, we Pediatric Dentists do recommend brushing twice a day for good oral health, but that’s just not enough. Brushing teeth is only a part of the game, but there are other culprits to decay as well, the four D’s:
- Diet type & frequency: Processed packaged tit bits which are regularly used for snacking are one of the major culprits of decay. The flour and oil stick to the teeth. If not cleaned properly, they stay over the surfaces for a very very long time and act as a fertile ground for oral bacteria to multiply, thereby causing tooth decay. Do not allow a frequent snacking. While eating anything the oral cavity produces enzymes for digestion of the food, which makes the teeth weak for some time and then the saliva comes to rescue, making them strong again. Thus, between every meal/snack keep a gap of at least 2 hours.
- Drinks: Carbonated drinks or sodas are a strict no-no. Their acidic content damages the outer layer of teeth, known as enamel, making them sensitive and more prone to caries. Avoid canned juices and drinks. Give children fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples, oranges etc. instead, which will give more nutrition and fiber to your little ones.
- Daily Brushing Technique: Brushing teeth does not mean toothbrush and toothpaste given to a child, who doesn’t even know how to tie his/her shoelaces!!! It has to be supervised, or for young ones, parents must do it for them. See to it that they brush on all the surfaces of their teeth and just not the visible ones. For kids younger than 8 years of age, use a circular brushing motion, with a fluoridated toothpaste containing at least 1000ppm of fluoride. Research supports the use of no more than a smear or rice grain size amount of fluoridated toothpaste for children less than three years of age. Also no more than a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste is appropriate for children aged three to six. To maximize the benefits, rinsing after brushing should be kept to minimum. Change the toothbrush every three months or after any systemic infection (eg. viral fever).
- Dental fluoride: Fluorides have been shown to be the most beneficial element in preventing tooth decay along with strengthening the outer layer/enamel of teeth. While there are many products that have fluoride, such as toothpastes and mouthwashes, fluoride varnish treatment is the most beneficial for your little ones as they give better and faster protection. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends dental fluoride application at three or six monthly interval depending upon the decay risk of the child. And as the risk changes over time, the type and frequency of this preventive treatment is adjusted.
So, apply the four D’s in maintaining oral health to get Daily Dazzling teeth for your Dynamic Darlings.