The common saying ‘A stitch in time saves nine’ is applicable to almost everything in life, including our health. When it comes to oral health and hygiene, dentists say it is good to start early. Also Read - Anushka Sharma Shares an Ayurvedic Tip on Dental Hygiene

According to laser and cosmetic dental surgeon, Dr. Gunita Singh, you can teach kids the value of oral hygiene and taking care of their teeth well in time. Here’s how: Also Read - World Oral Health Day 2019: 6 Tips For Excellent Oral Hygiene

Brushing: Brushing is the key to dental health. Even before teeth develop in a baby, take a muslin cloth with glycerin and wipe the gums to kill all bad bacteria. At the onset of first two teeth, prepare your child to start brushing softly with a baby brush and a child-friendly toothpaste. By the age of three, they should be able to spit and by six, should be well versed with the brushing techniques. Assist the child till eight years of age. Also Read - Poor Oral Health May Interfere in Blood Pressure Control in People Diagnosed With Hypertension, Says Latest Study

Healthy snacking in between meals: An important factor in overall health is healthy snacking in between the meals. It goes very well with our oral health too even before the onset of teeth. We encourage giving fresh crispy vegetables to kids in the sticky form so that they can chew on them – like carrot, apple, and celery. It relieves pain due to teething once the teeth arrive they act as a natural toothbrush, cleaning the plaque and sticky film on teeth much before it converts into calculus or tartar. Also, avoid sticky food, sugar candies, and sodas they can erode tooth surface make the enamel weak and lead to cavities.

Mouth rinsing: Mouth rinsing also interferes with plaque formation. How much we try and avoid it, kids will be kids, they will munch between meals. There will be days they will eat chips, candy, sugar and cheese. The best solution is everytime they eat such food, make sure they rinse with a kid-friendly mouthwash. It’s important to swirl the liquid for at least 30 seconds in the mouth.

“Being an orthodontist (braces specialist), I have noticed more and more kids are going for braces now,” says Dr Tanvir Singh.

His tips:

Fight bad oral habits at the right age: Children are very prone to habits like thumb sucking, lip thrusting, tongue thrusting, and with age, keeping a pen or pencil in between their teeth. Parents have to be strict and manage or else this can lead to total structural change and the malocclusion; braces are then mandatory

Visit the dentist early: Kids should visit the dentist before their first birthday. It is very important to make friends with your dentist early so that we can keep sharing tips with you. The first visit should never be associated with pain else, it can scare the child for life.