Dental Hygiene


Why is dental hygiene so important in an early age?

For many reasons, the most important being, to prevent oral diseases; to foster good habits that your child will keep his/her whole life. Kids will learn good oral hygiene from observation and copying from their families.

In fact the tendency in oral prevention and dentistry is to start with unborn babies …yes!! This is done through bringing awareness on oral diseases to the future mom on how to maintain their own oral health and how to clean her baby’s mouth from day one.

That early start will give the parents the tools needed to perform simple preventive measures at home and how to correct bad habits before oral health is affected.

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What sort of problems do you come across when you work on the dental unit?

The School dental Program, as its name says goes to public primary schools and we focus on the school population from 4 to 12-14 years old;

At those ages the most common problems are tooth decays or dental cavities; in cycle one of the baby teeth and at 10 -14 in the first permanent molars; inflammation of the gums or gingivitis frequently because of local irritation; bacterial plaque and tartar and yes kids that young build up tartar too, that is why proper brushing and regular visits to the dental office are so important. We also come across dental injuries and fractures in schools.

What is important to note is and what we would like to bring to the attention now is that most of the oral diseases that we find in our community can in most cases be prevented. With more and active participation of parents, oral health providers and school policies that limit sugar intake and supervise the kinds of food the kids have access to at school as much as at home we can prevent many oral diseases.

What kind of advice do you give as a dentist?

For parents of new born babies please clean your baby’s mouth with a wet cloth or swap after each breast or bottle feeding, and when teeth start to erupt, use a special baby tooth brush that you will find at a baby’s store or pharmacies. Stop the use of bottle and change to sip cup by the age of two and stop the pacifier by three /three and a half years old

Remember bottles are for "eating" not to play or as a sleepy toy; as such refrain from putting your child to sleep with a bottle with milk in his/her mouth.

Use a tooth paste without fluoride until the age of two and tooth paste with fluoride for kids after age two.

Parents with kids 4 years and older, please brush or supervise the brushing of your kid’s teeth at least twice a day but it is very important to certainly do so before bed time. Do not allow your child to drink anything with sugar after the bed time tooth brushing. Introduce your child to the good habit of flossing; you can use dental floss for kids and by the age of 12 years your child should be able to do it him/herself.

Limit the times kids snack remember, every time you snack you will have a plaque attack. Provide them with good and healthier snacks; dry or fresh fruits, cheese sandwiches or oatmeal cookies; water or natural juices without sugar instead of starch and sweets. It is recommended that after each snack if brushing is not an option to give water to your child to rinse his/her mouth

Last but not least visit your dentist regularly at least twice a year, ask your dentist or dental care provider about other preventive measures like fluoride applications and sealants.

Why people are afraid of the dentist? How to overcome that?

It seems to be cultural. It is true that a dental office is full of things that can be intimidating and that is why in our program we give the kids drawings of things they can find in the dental mobile to try to make a dental office a familiar place for them. The cultural issue is more complicated, if you pay attention you will see that in not one cartoon, movie or TV program is going to the dentist presented in a positive way and another factor is the double information adults give to the child. "It is good for you but I don’t do it because I don’t like dentist". Remember they learn through imitation and the right examples given by parents and teachers.

Of course there is your personal experience and that is why it is important to start good oral hygiene habits that will keep your child’s teeth healthy in order to avoid invasive and extended treatment at a young age.

Where to go for information or if you have any questions?

Ministry of Public Health Social Development and Labour; Collective Preventive Services section Youth Health Care located at The Vineyard Office Park Building in Philipsburg, our phone numbers are: 5423553/ 5423003/ 5422078

We would like to extend an invitation to you to see more of this interview with Mrs. Zeynep Sabahoglu on WTNTV Chanel 10. Thursday 8 of March at 7:00 pm