Key messages and facts on children's oral health | Updated: 2022-05-12
1.Cleaning mouth should start from infancy

Even if infants without teeth should have their mouths cleaned with soft gauze every day. When they are six months old, parents can continue to use this method to clean their mouth and the surface of the teeth. After they have more teeth, parents can brush their child's teeth twice a day with a finger toothbrush or a soft brush and clean all the teeth surfaces, especially places near the gum. It is suggested that parents can use dental floss to clean the gaps between the teeth. 
2.Teach children to make brushing their teeth a habit
Children should start to learn to brush their teeth at around two years old. The appropriate way of brushing teeth for children is the Fones or circular brushing method. It involves placing the brush over a set of teeth, not at a particular angle, and then brushing each set more than five times with gentle, circular motions. Parents should choose suitable toothbrushes for children and replace them about every two or three months. Children should brush their teeth every morning and evening for no less than two minutes each time. It is more important to brush teeth before going to bed at night. It might be difficult for preschool children to finish the complicated movements of toothbrushing, and parents’ help and supervision may therefore be needed. 
3.Maintain a proper diet to protect teeth
Over intake of sugar-containing food or over drinking of sodas will cause dental caries or teeth sensitivity. Children should eat less sweet food, drink less carbonated drinks, gargle with water or tea after eating and not eat after brushing teeth at night.
4. Do pit and fissure sealing for school-age children
Pit and fissure sealing is the most effective way of preventing pit and fissure caries. The procedure involves filling the pit and fissure caries with polymer material to make the surface of the teeth smooth so that bacteria can’t easily survive. Pit and fissure sealing is a non-invasive technique that does not cause pain. 
It is suggested that children aged six to eight get the pit and fissure sealing for the first molars and children aged 11 to 13 get it for the second molars. 
5. Use fluoride toothpaste every day and apply fluoride regularly
Using fluoride toothpaste is a safe and effective way to prevent dental caries. Under the guidance and supervision of parents or teachers, children under three years old can use toothpaste the size of a rice grain for brushing their teeth each time, while children aged three to six should use toothpaste the size of a pea each time. Children can also go to the hospital for dental fluoridation every six months, which gives their teeth a protective film to prevent dental caries. 
6.Prevent dental injuries
Children should wear a protective sports suit and non-slip sneakers in order to prevent dental injuries caused by falls. If necessary, children can wear helmets, mouth guards and other protective devices. When traveling in vehicles, children should fasten the seat belt. Once children injure their teeth, they should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible.
7.Get rid of bad oral habits as soon as possible and prevent tooth and jaw malformation
Children should get rid of bad oral habits such as sucking fingers and biting lips and pencils as soon as possible.  Mouth breathing will cause malocclusion of teeth, even deformitas maxillaris. Parents of children with the habit of mouth breathing should check whether their upper respiratory tract is unobstructed and is free of respiratory disease; if any is found it should be treated. Dentognathic deformity found in the milk teeth period or replacement period of permanent teeth should be checked by a dentist to decide whether early correction is needed.
8.Have oral examinations regularly and treat oral diseases as soon as possible
Dental caries is a common oral disease of children, which can cause toothache, gum and face swelling, and even high fever. Left untreated for a long period of time, the caries can cause unilateral chewing in children and asymmetric development of the two cheeks and also affect the normal development and eruption of permanent teeth. Children suffer from a high incidence of oral diseases. In order to learn the oral conditions of children as well as quickly detect and treat oral problems, children should get an oral health examination every six months.