3 Dental Reminders That We As Parents Must Be Aware Of!

Navigating our child’s oral health can be overwhelming and stressful on a daily basis. Despite it being a hygiene issue and non-negotiable, what we must also understand as parents is that this activity can also appear like an intrusion into their private space.

Children resist activities like brushing and cleaning for several reasons. Some of the commonest are below;

  • Putting a brush into a child’s mouth can seem alien to a little one who is used to biting down on foreign objects, but not familiar with the objects remaining in the mouth for a longer time
  • Having a parent brush a toddler’s teeth is an activity fraught with resistance, playfulness and procrastination either due to irritability, anxiety or stress
  • Brushing seems like an added chore to children who don’t understand the reasoning behind it since they don’t see the immediate effects of not doing the activity
  • Carious teeth, bleeding gums, bad breath often don’t register unless they become serious and cause the child discomfort

Resistance to brushing and regular dental visits by their wards is one complaint many parents have. But it is also these times where we must re-visit what kind of practices we are enforcing regarding their dental health.

What are we doing or not doing that is causing more harm than relief to our children, while working towards their dental health?

Here’s 3 important dental reminders to put things into better perspective for us parents.

  1. White teeth don’t always mean healthy teeth


Have you ever looked at your child’s teeth and thought all is good? You or they are brushing regularly, teeth look gleaming and nice, and their dental health seems perfect. But unbeknown to you, often times, caries or black spots may be lurking in the most unsuspecting areas of the teeth. Molars and grinders, back of the teeth, upper teeth can begin infection which if not identified or checked can slowly destroy the tooth or spread to adjoining ones.

White teeth being healthy teeth is a misconception to be constantly aware of. As parents, putting in a weekly schedule of examining all the teeth with a torch, making note of discolorations and regular pediatric dental checkups can avoid serious tooth complications and serious dental interventions.

  1. Brushing harder doesn’t clean better!


True. Brushing harder, applying more force, using hard-bristled toothbrushes in an attempt to remove stubborn or stuck plaque between teeth can cause more damage than good. Although our natural human tendency is to use more force, in reality, brushing vigorously is like applying blunt force to the teeth, causing the outer enamel to be eroded faster, injuries to the gums, shaking the root of the tooth. This in children with milk teeth and growing adult teeth, can impact the way they form and the pace at which they grow.

Brushing must be done gently, with a soft-bristled age-appropriate brush and adequate quantity of fluoride paste rubbed in circles around the teeth. This removes all the loose food stuck around the teeth as well provides massaging for the gums in children.

  1. Agitated, irritable children at the dentist can also mean sensory overload

Irritable, agitated children can mean several things – he or she is hungry, teething, has colic or indigestion, is restless and so much more. This behavior at the dentist can often exaggerate and get out of hand. At such times tried and tested means to pacify them don’t suffice. However, have you ever thought that children can be overwhelmed by large number of people, machines, strangers touching and prodding them, lights and sounds too? Many children act up not because they are just being irritable but are trying to convey how much the environment is overwhelming and affecting them. They become non-cooperative, throw tantrums, keep crying and whining, and usual forms of pacifying too don’t help.

This fact is something we at Small Bites have realized during the course of our work with children. To address that, our dental experience centers feature beach themed walls and play toys, sensorially designed lights and walls that can be felt and touched, providing the distraction that will ease them into much needed treatment.

As parents we are pre-conditioned to behave, react and pre-empt a certain way and practice tasks accordingly. But at every step we need gentle reminders that will help us relearn, for the better treatment of our children.