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Pharmacy education Part 3 Oral care for kids and teens

The text below is a complement to TePe’s Pharmacy webinars as well as to the Pharmacy folder.

Establishing good lifestyle habits already from early childhood years is important. It lays the foundation for a life of making choices that are beneficial for your body as well as your soul.

Right after we are born, bacteria start to establish in our mouths the mouth. Our oral microbiome is formed by various encounters, such as those with our parents. Streptococcus mutans, bacteria known to be cariogenic (causing caries) are passed when items contaminated with saliva go into a child's mouth. This takes place through ordinary parental behaviours, such as sharing eating utensils or using one's mouth to clean a baby's pacifier. Bacteria are, as many other things, inherited from our parents.

Two things are crucial when it comes to keeping a child’s teeth healthy; healthy eating habits and good toothbrushing routines.

Here are some useful tips:

• Start brushing the teeth, using a very small amount* of fluoride toothpaste, as soon as they emerge which is normally when the child is 6-8 months old. The biggest risk factor for caries in the permanent teeth is having caries in your primary teeth so keeping those milk teeth healthy should be a priority.

• Parents should assist their children with toothbrushing until the child is about 10 years old. A study shows that the ability to brush your teeth goes hand in hand with being able to write a complete address or to tie your shoes independently.

• Water is the number one option when it comes to beverages, especially if the child drinks out of a bottle. Juice and sodas are not suitable beverages. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world sugar-sweetened beverages represent the majority of added sugars consumed by children.

• Snacking between meals should be avoided – along with sugar and sticky foods. The daily intakes of food and drink should be limited to 5 or 6.

 

The TePe Mini brush is the brush to use from 0-4 years of age, thereafter continuing with TePe Kids. When the molars emerge (at about 6 and 12 years of age) the chewing surfaces are not yet strengthened with fluoride and caries is common on these surfaces. TePe Compact Tuft is a good complementary brush for the emerging teeth.

When it comes to cleaning between the teeth, the recommendations for this varies from country to country but we say introducing floss in the mid-late teens is a safe option. TePe Mini Flosser is a good option since it’s easy to use, but if the teenager child is able to use regular floss, TePe Dental Tape is great.

Checking how clean the teeth are after brushing is good for evaluating the toothbrushing efforts of both parent and child - recommend TePe Plaque Search for people who are wondering if they’re doing a good job with the toothbrush.

Remember, regular dental check-ups are just as important for children as they are for adults.

* For a child under 2 years of age, the amount should be no bigger than a grain of rice. Children from 2 to 6 years of age may use the amount of fluoride toothpaste that corresponds to the size of their little finger nail.

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Webinar - Kids and teens

This webinar is in English and about 15 minutes long. Perfect for watching together with your colleagues over lunch!