How to manage your child's dental health from an early age

Start your child’s dental health as early as possible. Picture: Pexels.

Start your child’s dental health as early as possible. Picture: Pexels.

Published Feb 22, 2024


Teething is one of the most challenging stages of baby growth. Not only is it painful to the baby but to the parents as well because there isn’t much they can do to speed up the process.

What makes it even worse is that it’s not a one-off thing. For example, the baby will grow two teeth at six months, and then grow another set at eight months and so forth until they are at least 2 years old and have all the necessary teeth.

During this stage, parents must make sure that they practise dental hygiene on their children like as rubbing their gums with a damp, clean cloth and brushing their teeth with soft-bristled brushes.

Lizeth Kruger, the national clinic executive at Dis-Chem Baby City, reminds parents of the importance of laying the foundation for a child's dental health.

This comes after the 2022 WHO Global Oral Health Status Report, which revealed that 3.5 billion individuals worldwide suffer from oral diseases, with approximately two billion people grappling with permanent cavities globally and, of these, 514 million are children dealing with cavities in their primary teeth.

“Considering these staggering numbers, the importance of prevention over cure when it comes to oral health is important, and this begins before the first tooth even comes out.

“Parents need to invest in their children’s oral health and develop early habits which lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles,” said Kruger.

If you suspect there might be a problem with your child’s teeth, take them to the dentist. Picture: File.

She provides insights and tips for parents to ensure their little ones’ oral hygiene journey starts on the right path:

The sooner you start, the better

Make a habit of running a clean, damp wash cloth over your baby’s gums to clear away harmful bacteria before the first tooth comes out. Thereafter, use a soft baby toothbrush and organic toothpaste.

Make brushing fun

Children usually pay attention, and once they can hold the toothbrush, allow them to brush themselves. To them, it will be like playing, but it will be worth it with you guiding them.

Routine matters

It’s always best to have your child brush their teeth at the same time. That way, they can easily adapt to a routine that they brush their teeth in the morning and at night before going to bed.

A good diet keeps the dentist at bay

Make sure your children eat healthy food. Also, avoid giving them sweets and fizzy drinks as they may cause tooth decay.