Having pearly white, evenly spaced teeth can add that extra bit to your child’s self-confidence. In addition, a good-looking set of teeth makes his/her smiles more beautiful and charming too. However, not every kid has nice and white teeth, with stained teeth and dental yellowing being some of the most common pediatric dentistry problems. We have here listed some simple tips to maintain the whiteness of your child’s teeth. Make sure these are followed:
Get a new toothbrush – The best toothpastes in the world can be of little use, if your child uses an old, worn-out toothbrush. Leading dentists for children confirm that the battered bristles of old brushes cannot properly reach all parts of the teeth of kids, leaving several areas unclean. This, in turn, causes stains to remain unmoved. In general, getting a new, soft toothbrush after every 2-3 months is recommended.
Plan your diet – Many parents are unaware that there are certain types of food (medically known as ‘detergent foods’) that help in keeping the teeth white. Experts from dental clinics worldwide refer to apples as ‘nature’s toothbrush’, while other crunchy items like carrots (raw or lightly boiled), popcorn, or celery are listed in this category of edible items. Ideally, these foods should be eaten last during a meal – so that their ‘detergent’ action remains effective afterwards.
Teeth-whitening pastes – There are several medically approved, over-the-counter whitening toothpastes available, which you can get for your son/daughter. However, since these pastes generally contain abrasives, a local children’s dentist should be consulted first. The whitening toothpastes help in thoroughly cleaning the surface of the teeth, and do not, in any way, alter their original color. In other words, their function is not like dental bleaching.
Regular flossing is essential – No matter how many times your child brushes his/her teeth everyday, there remains some risk of plaque-accumulation and resultant bacteria-formation. This risk can be minimized only by regular dental flossing. In particular, flossing helps in cleaning up the area between teeth (and hence, it is more important for kids with widely spaced teeth). Get in touch with any good dental hospital in Kolkata, and learn about the correct flossing technique. For the best results, you need to do it right!
Dental strips – These are also available over-the-counter, and are probably the best for teeth-whitening – provided that you are prepared to wait 14-16 days. Depending on the recommendation of your regular pediatric dentist, you can take your pick from different types of strips – each having different amounts of hydrogen peroxide in the gel. You need to be careful while putting on the strips though. Exposing them to the gums can cause itching sensations and even gum bleeding. If you hold the open strips for too long, you might experience a burning sensation in your fingers too.
After eating foods with Vitamin C, wash the teeth – There is no doubt about the nutritional benefits of regularly having citrus fruits (e.g., oranges and lemons). However, they do have one downside – these foods generate a type of acid in the mouth, which eats away at the tooth enamel, and leave hard-to-remove stains. Kids’ dentists advise thorough rinsing of the teeth with water, every time after such foods are eaten. The harmful acids will get washed off.
Use baking soda to brush your teeth – Do this once or twice every week. In case your child complains of a feeling rawness and/or oversensitivity in the gums, switch over to brushing the teeth with salt. Researches conducted by experts from top dental hospitals show that both baking soda and salt help in removal of teeth-stains. Remember, if you are using salt as your ‘toothpaste’, spit it out once you are done.
Use a straw while drinking beverages – There is nothing ‘macho’ or ‘cool’ in ditching the straw while drinking any type of stain-producing liquid (e.g., soft drinks, red wine, certain fruit juices). These drinks, when taken directly, can have a significant adverse effect on the dental enamel, and can leave unpleasant marks on the teeth too. Ask for a straw, and sip your drink through it. Even so, you should brush your teeth (if possible) afterwards. If your child is a fan of cranberry juice, follow the same routine.
Whitening gels – One of the oldest, albeit not entirely reliable, ways to whiten children’s teeth. You need to heat up the gel (available OTC), place it on a tray and put the latter in your kid’s mouth. This method does not provide overnight results, and in most cases, 3-4 weeks pass by before any whitening effects become visible. Since the carbamide peroxide gel gets chemically decomposed in the mouth, there remains an outside chance of irritations and/or painful sensations cropping. If your child complains of such problems, stop using the gel and book an appointment at a good dental clinic immediately.
The benefits of apple cider vinegar – You have taught your child to brush twice everyday and gargle after that, right? Instead of normal warm water, provide fresh apple cider vinegar for this gurgling purpose. The vinegar would remove the bacteria deposits on/between the teeth, and would was away tooth stains as well. Regular gargling with apple cider vinegar can make your child’s teeth appear whiter in a matter of days.
Make sure that your kid’s tongue is clean – Doing so is easy enough. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to wipe out the tongue of your kid – after the regular toothbrushing is done. Use long strokes of the brush for the purpose. Renowned dentists for children agree that this is a good DIY way to get rid of bacteria and remaining food particles on the tongue, which can later stain the teeth. Do not brush too hard on the tongue though – that might cause bleeding.
Explain the ill-effects of smoking – First things first – you have to be a non-smoker yourself (otherwise, what’s the point?). Explain to your kid the dangers of heavy smoking, and don’t stay limited to the cancer risks of cigarettes. Puffing on a regular basis makes brown stains appear on the breath, give rise to foul mouth odor, and can even lead to gingivitis. Your child needs to know why (s)he should stay away from smoking. It’s certainly not a ‘cool thing to do’!
Avail professional whitening services – This dental treatment method has to be carried out at a multi-specialty oral hygiene center for children, under the supervision of an experienced dentist. Heavy-intensity lights are used to break down the hydrogen peroxide at a quicker rate, which increases the volume of whitening oxygen produced. The dental doctor would also ask everyone in the room to put on protective eye-guards to avoid radiation. In case you are in a hurry for some reason to whiten your kid’s teeth, this method can be really effective.
First thing out of bed, last thing before going to bed – We are talking about brushing here. Do not pamper your son/daughter with tea and breakfast on bed, before (s)he has brushed his/her teeth. Similarly, after the last meal of the day, proper brushing is essential. Even if brushing after every meal is not possible, being regular about brushing at morning and at night will ensure that dental plaque formation will be minimal, and your child will not have that ‘eww’ morning breath. Make sure that (s)he does not miss out on these two brushing sessions any day.
Use a good mouthwash – Mouthwashes are instrumental in keeping your child’s breath minty-fresh (At least the good ones are!). Not gargling regularly with a mouthwash gradually worsens the mouth odor of your kid, due to bacteria formation. General yellowing of the teeth are likely to follow shortly. In case you are not sure about which mouthwash would be the best, seek the advice of a professional children’s dentist.
Let’s sign off with a bit of girl’s only advice. If your daughter has yellowish teeth, maker her put on lipsticks of medium coral or any bright red shade. Lipsticks of lighter shade tend to make the yellowness of teeth more prominent. Bring your child for regular checkups at any good dental care clinics in Kolkata regularly. Stained, unclean teeth reeks of poor oral hygiene standards – and you certainly don’t want that for your child, right?