Cleaning gum pads
A new born baby is without any teeth. The empty gums are called “gum pads”. Although the gum pads don’t have any teeth coming in till the baby is 4-6 months old, caring for the gum pads and keeping them clean is important for the health of the infant. You have to clean the gum pads after every meal. You can use a soft paper towel or any other commercially available ‘brush’ to clean. If you cannot find any, go ahead and clean the gum pads with your clean fingers!!!
Care for tooth brush
We use tooth brushes everyday. They are probably the most used and neglected tools in our everyday routine. Teach your child to care for their tooth brushes, as the brushes harbour the maximum number of micro-organisms. Washing the brushes with warm water before and after use is important. Also make sure to keep the brushes away from the toilet area.
Sharing tooth brushes
This is an absolute No-No for any child. The possibility of cross contamination is high when the child shares his brush with other children or even siblings.
Cleaning the tongue
It is important to clean the tongue along with brushing the teeth. The human tongue has the maximum number of bacteria and the scraping of the tongue everyday removes the bacteria regularly. An uncleaned tongue can be source of infection and bad breath in children. Encourage your child to scrape the tongue during brushing.
Digit sucking/thumb sucking
Thumb sucking is a normal for a child till the age of 2 years. If the habit persists beyond this age, it could lead to developmental disturbances in children. A moist finger also attracts infections. Please talk to your dentist or health care provider on the treatment options to break the habit.
Washing hands before eating
It is well documented that our palms carry many germs. Your child is totally unaware of this. Make it a routine for your child to wash hands before eating. For infants and toddlers who use pacifiers or teethers, clean and disinfect them before handing it over to your child.
Nail biting is a habit that is developed as a coping mechanism to stress. But don’t let this habit ruin your child’s teeth. Take measures to nip it in the initial stages.
Cheek /lip biting
Cheek or lip biting is again a sign of stress in your child. This can become a habit over time and cause damage to the soft structures and the teeth. Recognise this habit early in your child and take measure to rectify.
Sharing foods with friends
Every child loves to share and learns to share in school. Sharing with peers is most appreciated by all. But you, as a mother have an added responsibility to safeguard the health of your child. Be gentle but firm in guiding your child about the rules of sharing. Educate your child on the possible cross contamination of direct sharing of eatables.
Sharing spoons with toddlers
As much as you love your babies and spend time to prepare their favourite meal, it is important that you don’t share your eating cups or spoons with your children. This can be a direct source of oral bacterial transmission to your child.