Developing good oral habits early on in life is crucial for every child, as the good health of their milk teeth will pave the way for healthy permanent teeth. It is both challenging and frustrating as teaching our little ones good oral habits can really be quite tricky. My little man, for instance, would have a number of alibis before going to the bathroom to brush his teeth, and now that we have established a regular routine, the trick lies in making sure he cleans his chompers thoroughly and completely so we can prevent toothaches and tooth decay.

Recent survey shows that 9 out of 10 Grace 1 public school students aged 6 years old in the Philippines have cavities and that our country is far behind other Western Pacific Region countries in terms of oral health. The 2 most commn oral health problems plaguing us are dental caries and periodontal diseases, which can be avoided by improving oral health conditions among pre-school children and inculcating a positive oral health behavior to children entering school age.

Oral Care Myths Busted!

Before going through the tips that would help us care for our pearly whites better let us first bust a number oral care myths.

Myth #1: It is best to rinse with a non-alcoholic based mouthwash immediately after brushing.

Busted: Fluoride in your toothpaste will be washed away if you do that it is best to allow 30 minutes to pass before rinsing with a mouthwash. It is true, though, that you should use a non-alcoholic based mouthwash. It is also recommended to rinse with a mouthwash before brushing to soften plaque and loosed particles between teeth.

Myth #2: The acidity of your food or drink must be considered before brushing your teeth.

Busted: Because of the acidic nature of the food you ate or juice/cola you drink, the outermost portion of the tooth is porous during this time and immediate brushing can cause enamel abrasions exposing the dentin causing tooth sensitivity.

Myth 3: Tooth stains are only caused by external factors.

Busted: There are 2 kinds of  tooth stains ~ intrinsic and extrinsic. The extrinsic stains are those that appear on the surface of the teeth as a result of exposure to dark-colored beverages, foods and tobacco, and routine wear and tear. Superficial intrinsic stains, on the other hand, are minor and can be removed with brushing and prophylactic dental cleaning. Stubborn intrinsic stains can be removed with more involved efforts, like teeth bleaching. Persistent extrinsic stains can penetrate into the dentin and become ingrained if they are not dealt with early. Intrinsic stains are those that form on the interior of teeth. Intrinsic stains result from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals {like tetracycline} during tooth formation and/or excessive ingestion of fluoride. 

Myth 4: Babies can’t get cavities.

Busted: Primary or “baby” teeth can get cavities that can spread to other teeth if left untreated.

Myth 5: Sugar is the only thing that causes cavities.

Busted: This is myth, but is almost a fact. According to Kimberly A. Harms, DDS, an American Dental Association spokeswoman: the truth is acid produced by bacteria in the mouth is the cause of cavities. Any carb you eat can start that process, including sugar, as well as rice, potatoes, bread, fruits, and vegetables.

Myth 6: Aspirin next to a tooth will help a toothache.

Busted: You have to swallow the aspirin to easy your pain. Since aspirin is acidic, it could burn your gum tissue and cause a painful abscess if you place it next to a tooth.

Tips + Tricks On Caring for our Children’s Teeth

  1. Retain the milk teeth as much as possible. Some mothers are concerned whether to remove the temporary teeth because it is decayed. The temporary or milk teeth acts as a guide to the erupting permanent teeth so the early extraction or removal of the milk teeth may cause misalignment of the permanent teeth.
  2. Bring your child to the dental clinic at an early age. The moment you teach your child how to brush his teeth is the moment you should bring him to the dental clinic. Every time you have appointments with your dentist bring your child with you so that he becomes familiar with the surroundings. This helps alleviate the fear and apprehensions of visiting a dental office.
  3. The ideal length of floss is 20 inches and the ideal floss is waxed. Floss removes plaque and debris that sticks in between teeth and below the gum-line, polishes tooth surfaces, and controls bad breath. Use a fresh section of the floss for each tooth.
  4. The perfect angle to tilt the toothbrush is 45 degrees for that optimal reach. Proper washing also takes at least 2 minutes ~ yes, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. To properly brush your teeth, tilt the brush at 45 degrees angle against the gum-line and sweep or roll the brush away from the gum-line by using short strokes, gently brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth using short back-and-forth strokes. Gently brush the tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.
  5. What amount of toothpaste is appropriate for young ones? For children under the age of 2, use a “smear” of fluoridated toothpaste, while a “pea size” of toothpaste is just enough for children aged 2-5 years old.
  6. When is my child ready to get orthodontic braces? Orthodontic treatment in young children or what is known as interceptive orthodontics can begin as early as age 6 or 7. Teeth are still developing at this stage and the jaw is still growing, making it easy to address conditions like crowding, cross bite or protruding front teeth.

Instilling good oral habits in our little ones is a must. Not to mention, it will save us a lot of painful episodes and dentist trips in the future. It is good that we can rely on trusted brands to help us ensure our children’s teeth are free from cavities. Kudos to Colgate Philippines for continuously being a part of the Filipinos’ aim to be cavity-free. Big shout outs, too, for sending us this oral care package, packed with Colgate products such as Colgate Plax, Colgate Total Dental Floss, Colgate 360-Degree Charcoal Toothbrush, and Colgate Toothpaste, a product we have been using ever since I can remember .

For more information about their products, follow the Colgate Palmolive Facebook Page, facebook.com/ColgatePhilippines. You may also follow their Twitter account @ColgatePH and search for the hashtag #ColgateHealthySmiles for related posts.

Written by

mumwrites

is a 30-something work-at-home mum who blogs in between home chores + child-minding. i love coffee, books + reading, collecting lovely postcards, + spending loads of time outdoors with my little man.