Raising a child takes a lot of effort, and one piece of the puzzle is pediatric dentistry. Your children rely on you to care for their teeth and teach them how to do so on their own. Check out these five tips to help you care for your child’s teeth.
No. 1 – Clean Gums Before Teeth Appear
There’s no point in worrying about dental hygiene before your baby even has any teeth, right? Wrong. Even before teeth emerge, there’s still bacteria in the mouth. Without teeth, the bacteria can’t really do too much, but it’s still a good idea to keep the gums clean, especially as teeth are just starting to sprout. For babies under three months, it’s not necessary to use a toothbrush. Just get a washcloth or piece of gauze, and simply wipe the gums with warm water to get rid of the bacteria.
No. 2 – Start Brushing Once the First Tooth Appears
Once the first tooth finally appears, we suggest using a toothbrush to brush the tooth. Make sure you choose an infant toothbrush. You can use a very small amount of toothpaste if you’d like, but make sure to clean away any excess. Alternatively, a toothbrush and some water will also be sufficient to brush off any plaque. Continue cleaning the gums with the toothbrush or washcloth. When the first tooth appears (or by your child’s first birthday) we recommend taking your child in to see us, or to another dentist that specializes in pediatric dentistry.
No. 3 – Gradually Allow Your Child to Brush Their Own Teeth
Good habits start at a young age. Continue to brush your child’s teeth until they have the coordination to do so on their own, which usually occurs around the age of eight. You’ll still want to monitor them to ensure they are brushing properly. Even if your child has the ability to brush and floss properly, that doesn’t mean they’ll remember to do so every time. Help them by watching them brush and by reminding them of how to brush properly.
No. 4 – Educate Your Child on Good Oral Hygiene Habits Early
Primary teeth aren’t permanent, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t just as important as permanent teeth. Even though primary teeth are going to fall out, ensure your children take good care of their teeth. Not only will it prevent painful cavities, but teaching them how to care for their teeth early is crucial for healthy, lifelong oral hygiene habits. A child who learns the importance of thorough brushing and flossing is more likely to care for their permanent teeth in the same way!
No. 5 – Promote Healthy Eating Habits
Another good way to help your children’s teeth for life is to promote healthy eating habits from day one. Limit the amount of surgery foods and beverages to help prevent problems before they start. Just like with teaching good oral hygiene habits, teaching your child healthy eating habits early will help them as adults. If you allow your child to eat a lot of sugar, they’ll continue to eat a lot of sugar as adults, which is bad for their oral and overall health.
Caring for your child’s teeth is important for keeping a healthy mouth and promoting good habits. If it’s time for your child’s first dental visit, or if you just need more information, contact Landmark Dental Group, located in Santa Cruz.