Are you going wrong with your child’s dental needs?


Written by Dr Amrita Jain

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated May 3, 2024

Written by Dr Amrita Jain

Medically reviewed by  Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali Kabade BDS, TCC

Last updated May 3, 2024

Understanding why your child’s teeth have gone bad may not be on every parents priority list, but if you want to make your child free from dental problems understanding the reason why tooth cavities happen in the first place is very important.

Reasons why your child’s teeth are in trouble

Everyone knows what teeth cavities are, but most would be wondering why do cavities actually happen and how does the process actually start. So let’s get to the root of the problem and understand where you would be going wrong.

1.Nursing bottle caries/Rampant caries

You may have noticed some kids have the upper front teeth brown and black. That’s because their teeth are decayed and the process has already started from 6 months of age. This usually happens because some kids have a habit of drinking bottled milk and dozing off to sleep. What actually happens is that the sugar content in the milk remains inside the mouth while the baby is asleep and the micro-organisms present in the mouth ferment the sugars and release acids which dissolve the tooth and cause cavities.

To prevent this you can wipe the baby’s mouth with a simple clean wet cloth or gauze or simply feed the baby one or two spoons of water to flush out the remains of the milk and sugar. In this way the sugar no longer sticks to the teeth and prevents cavities in the future and you get to know your child’s dental needs.


2.Habit of holding food in mouth for a long time

Most children tend to hold their food in the mouth for longer periods of time. This happens mostly if they don’t like what is been fed to them or simply their tummy is full. One might not know this can actually cause cavities. Yes ! Holding food in the mouth for a long time gives the micro-organisms enough time to ferment the food and release acids causing tooth cavities. Children should be made to chew and swallow their food properly without holding food in the mouth for a longtime.

3.Not rinsing his/her mouth after meals or snacks

All children should have a habit of sipping 1-2 sips of water after they eat anything and everything. Let it be the meals or the snacks or even anything healthy. Gargling with plain water helps flush away the remains and food particles left behind and prevents the onset of cavities in the first place. Also its just not the type of food we eat but also the frequency of eating that matters. More the frequency of eating, more the chances of developing tooth cavities and increasing risk to your child’s dental needs. So help your children to stop that binge eating and keep aligned child’s dental needs.

4.Being lazy to brush at night

Brushing at night is even more important than brushing in the morning specially for kids. Skipping brushing at night can actually increase the chances of getting cavities by more than 50% . Make brushing fun for your kids and it won’t be a task for you anymore. Brushing at night with a fluoridated toothpaste will give enough time for the fluoride to act and make your child’s teeth even more strong.


5 secrets to never get tooth cavities

  • Don’t ask your children to stop eating chocolates . They are anyways going to do it. they will either eat chocolates without your notice or eat them anyway inspite of your warnings. Accept it they are not going to listen and they will simply ignore. Instead have a habit of brushing your teeth, rinsing your mouth with water or even you can have carrots or tomatoes or cucumbers after having them.
  • Brushing twice daily in the morning and at night
  • Flossing their teeth. If its difficult to teach your kids to floss or even do it for them simply get a teeth cleaning done every 6 months for your children to avoid any major dental procedures in the future. Teeth cleaning is not at all a painful procedure and nothing to feel scared about.
  • Brushing in small circular motions and not in any haphazard manner.
  • Cleaning the tongue is very important and mostly not included in the dental regime by many. Tongue cleaning is not only for adults but also for kids.

Ideal Dental care routine for children

5 fingers – 5 dental steps

  1. Brush twice
  2. Floss
  3. Clean your tongue
  4. Rinse your mouth
  5. Smile

Selecting the right dental products for your kids

1.Selecting the right toothbrush

Make sure you choose a small-head size toothbrush that fits in your child’s mouth. Usually the recommended age is mentioned on the packaging. The toothbrush head should not be very big for your child.

2.Selecting the right toothpaste– the different color bristles on the toothbrush actually indicate the amount of toothpaste that your child requires to brush their teeth.

  • 0-2 years of age use a pea sized amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste for morning as well as night time brushing.
  • 2-3 years of age use a smear layer amount of fluoridated toothpaste or rice grain sized amount of toothpaste in the morning as well as night time.
  • 3-5 years of age use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste at night and pea sized amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste in the morning.
  • 5 years + age use a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste for both morning as well as night time brushing.

3. As so many toothpastes are available in the market, look for the one that has an ADA seal/ IDA seal of acceptance.

4. Do not fall for whitening toothpastes indicated for children use as they contain more abrasives which may harm the tooth enamel.

5. Selecting the flavor of the toothpaste- While it doesnt really matter which flavour toothpaste you use for your child you want to make sure he/ she even enjoys brushing at the same time. Avoid using spicy or mint flavored toothpastes for your child. Flavors like strawberry, bubble gum and berry flavors are more accepted by kids.

6. Selecting a tongue cleaner– use a kids tongue cleaner to clean your child’s tongue and not the back side of the toothbrush.

7. Selecting a dental floss – Flossing for your kids or even trusting them with flossing their own teeth can seem impossible. Water flossers work wonders for kids as it sounds very interesting and fun for children. This way they can enjoy flossing too and a win win situation for both.

6. Selecting a mouthwash – generally kids do not require a mouthwash on a daily basis. If at all you want you, make sure the mouthwash is alcohol free and fluoride free for children below 6 years of age. Salt water mouth rinses work the best and are safe too. It also helps reduce the bacterial load in the mouth improving oral hygiene.


  • If you think all your child needs is a toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean to prevent cavities, you are definitely wrong.
  • Understanding your child’s dental needs is going to help your child have a better oral hygiene and prevent them from having cavities in the first place
  • Night time bottle feeding, not rinsing mouth with water, habit of holding food in the mouth for a long time and failing to brush at night are the main reasons why your child’s teeth have gone bad.
  • Selecting the right dental products for your child is very important.
  • Follow the 5 fingers- 5 steps to keep cavities away.

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Author Bio: Dr. Amrita Jain is a practicing dental surgeon since 4 years. She completed her B.D.S in 2016 and was has been a rank holder throughout her course. She suggests “Holistic dentistry is the best dentistry”. Her treatment line follows a conservative pattern which means saving a tooth is of utmost priority and preventing your teeth from getting decayed rather than curing it with a root canal treatment. She inculcates the same while consulting her patients. Apart from her interest in clinical practice, she has developed interest in research and writing over a period of time. She states “It is my clinical experience that motivates me to write and spread dental awareness”. Her articles are well researched with a combination of technical knowledge and clinical experience.

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