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Precious, your child's teeth must be cleaned and brushed twice a day with the utmost care. Add to that good eating habits, no nibbling or sweet drinks, and you're on your way to healthy teeth!
Between 1 and 2 years old: First gentle brushing
- The brushing is done without toothpaste, with a small toothbrush and soft bristles, adapted to the size of the mouth of your child.
- Good eating habits are taken very early. The nemesis of dentists is the nibbling of sweet foods repeated during the day. Dr. Christophe Lequart, dental surgeon and spokesperson for the French Union of Oral Health, warns parents who tend to leave their child a bottle of chocolate or fruit juice to the mouth while throughout the day. A bad habit that can lead to the appearance of "bottle caries". "When a child drinks his bottle or nibbles all day, his teeth are constantly bathed in an acid environment, says the specialist.
- Even with satisfactory oral hygiene, the risk of caries is much higher. "At the age of 3, some children have all of their decayed teeth - damage that is difficult for the dentist to attempt to heal, but who will be forced to perform extractions if they are too damaged.
- You must therefore teach your child, from an early age, to respect the principle of food intake at meal times. "Also beware of sugary drinks, all sodas, even light, and fruit juices, are naturally acidic and will promote the demineralization of enamel," warns the dentist.
From 2 to 6 years old: first appointment at the dentist
- The first appointment at the dentist should be done around 3 years old. Doing it early is a good thing for prevention, but also for dramatizing visits to the dentist: accustomed young, your child will not be apprehensive to go. Then schedule an annual check.
Fluoride toothpaste and cavities prevention
- Between the ages of 2 and 6, brushing teeth is done with a fluoride toothpaste, which must be less than 500 ppm (part per million, for example one milligram per kilo). Fluoride will help reduce the risk of caries formation. By what process? As soon as your child eats, the bacteria in his mouth use to work the sugars present in the diet. The bacteria break down these sugars and synthesise them into acids, which then attack the enamel of the tooth and form micro-holes, inside which carious lesions can form. If saliva has the power to neutralize these acids that have formed in the mouth, the role of fluoride is to strengthen the enamel, which will be less sensitive to attacks.
- Brushing must be done morning and evening, after the meal, under your supervision. If your child is 2-3 years old, it's up to you. Then, as he gets there alone, you'll be there to supervise. The cleaning of the teeth to never forget is the evening. A good brushing should last between 2 and 3 minutes. Small tip: put a radio in your bathroom and explain to your child that the brushing must last for a song. To facilitate the acceptance of this gesture, it may be useful to choose a brush with a character that your child likes. Similarly, if the mint taste does not please him, choose a toothpaste with a fruity taste.
Sophie Cousin, with the collaboration of Dr. Christophe Lequart, dental surgeon, spokesperson of the French Union of Oral Health (UFSBD).