The incidence of tooth decay is on the decline – but current studies show that the incidence of tooth decay in children has exploded. To protect milk teeth and the later “real” teeth from tooth decay, good dental care is crucial for children.
What is early childhood tooth decay?
Early childhood caries is a disease that occurs before the age of 6. Dentists differentiate between “milk tooth caries” and “bottle caries”.
We can trace deciduous tooth caries back to inadequate oral hygiene. Nipple bottle caries is caused by continuously drinking sweet beverages through a feeding bottle. Nipple bottle caries can also be caused by continuous breastfeeding.
Dental care for babies and children optimally cares for milk teeth in 6 steps
Optimal dental care begins with caring for your first teeth. Dental care must begin as soon as the first tooth erupts.
1st step: Remove bacteria even before the first tooth
Dental care must begin as soon as your child’s first milk teeth come through the gums (usually from the age of 6 months). Before doing this, it makes sense to carefully wipe the jaws with a washcloth so that no harmful bacteria collect in the baby’s mouth. It also helps your baby get used to oral hygiene.
Step 2: Brush your teeth from the 6th month
It is known that babies and young children should only consume small amounts of sugar. Even small amounts of sugar, such as those found in breast milk, can cause tooth decay in babies. To prevent this, correct and, above all, early dental care is crucial.
Dentists, therefore, recommend that parents brush their babies’ teeth regularly as soon as the first milk teeth appear (usually from the sixth month). Dentists recommend first the chewing surfaces, then the outer surfaces, and finally the inner surfaces are gently cleaned.
Step 3: Eat a healthy diet for your child
Eating a healthy diet is just as important as having proper dental care. In principle, toddlers and babies should not consume any sugary drinks or ready-made children’s teas or porridge, because these foods also often contain sugar.
As soon as the first teeth are present, foods that must be chewed thoroughly (whole grain products, raw vegetables) should be consumed, as teeth are partly cleaned by pure chewing.
Step 4: Brush your child’s teeth regularly twice a day
Just like adults, your child’s teeth should be brushed at least twice a day. From the age of 2, your child can try to brush their teeth. Please note that children are only 8 years old and able to brush their teeth completely on their own. Take care of your child and help. Help with your toothbrush and brush your teeth again.
Tip: Carrying out a brushing check after brushing your teeth will help your child to continuously improve their brushing technique.
Step 5: Use toothbrushing songs for more motivation when brushing your teeth
It is especially important for babies and toddlers that parents make brushing their teeth interesting. Tooth cleaning songs helps to prepare your baby for the future regular dental care routine playfully and to increase children’s motivation when brushing.
Step 6: Go to the dentist regularly as early as possible
As soon as the first milk tooth erupts, you should make regular check-ups with your dentist. Dentists or your pediatrician will give you your “children’s medical examination booklet”. This provides for six-monthly checks up to the age of 6. The first visit to the dentist should take place in the first year of life. From the age of six, the check-up appointments seamlessly transition into individual prophylaxis with the toothbrushing school.
In the toothbrushing school, children and young people learn how to use toothbrushes and dental floss and how to brush them correctly. Using models, the different toothbrushing techniques are explained and illustrated in a child-friendly manner. An incredibly special highlight: the dental hygienist colors the plaque in the child’s mouth and makes it visible so that your child can see how thoroughly they have brushed their teeth.
Thanks to the regular dentist appointments, your toddler quickly gets used to the atmosphere at the dentist – and will be less afraid if a major treatment is due.
If your child is terrified of the dentist, there are specially trained children’s dentists. You are sensitive to your child’s dental health.
Dental care children: which dental care products does my child need?
The right toothbrush for your child or baby
You can buy special baby toothbrushes for your baby in the drugstore or clean individual teeth with a cotton swab. It is also possible to purchase finger cots made of silicone with which we can clean teeth and gums.
There are special children’s toothbrushes with a small brush head for toddlers. These have soft bristles and a non-slip handle.
Besides their colorful design, electric toothbrushes for children are equipped with vibrating movements and musical tones. This increases the motivation to brush your teeth, and the dental care routine remains exciting. Be sure to choose a toothbrush that your child is comfortable with and that will give the best brushing results. Your child should still be able to brush their teeth with a manual toothbrush. To do this, alternate the electric and manual toothbrushes in the morning and the evening.
Children’s toothpaste containing fluoride
You need fluoride toothpaste for optimal dental care for your child. There are children’s toothpaste that has an optimal fluoride content of 550 ppm for children and a child-friendly taste.
Important: In the first year of life, only brush once a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride and use fluoridated table salt at the same time. From the first birthday, parents should brush their child’s milk teeth with toothpaste twice a day.
As soon as all milk teeth have erupted, dental floss is recommended to clean the spaces between the teeth. Waxed dental floss is ideal as it also fits into the narrow spaces between children’s teeth.