For children, consistent exposure to and familiarity with dental care early on in life is the key to superb oral health long-term. With that in mind, we have assembled this brief guide to help parents successfully navigate their child’s basic dental needs.
Oral Hygiene for Infants
It’s important to keep your baby’s mouth clean, even before their first tooth erupts. After each feeding, gently wipe their gums with a clean, damp cloth or gauze pad. Bring your baby to Today’s Dental by their first birthday, or within six months of when their first tooth comes in. When this first tooth erupts, it’s time to start brushing. And as soon as they have two teeth touching, it’s time to start flossing.
Brushing your child’s teeth twice per day is crucial in preventing tooth decay and cavities. Though baby teeth are only temporary, they allow your child to develop proper eating habits and speaking patterns, and act as placeholders that guide the growth of their permanent teeth. Use a children’s toothbrush, as they feature easy-to-grip handles and small, soft-bristled bristles that make it easy to reach all of your child’s teeth.
Until children are old enough to learn to spit after brushing, parents should only use a grain-of-rice-sized amount of toothpaste. For children under two years old, you could even use a wet toothbrush with no toothpaste. Children over three can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. If kids under six years old are exposed to excessive fluoride when their permanent are still developing, they can develop fluorosis. Fluorosis is a harmless cosmetic condition that results in white spots and streaks on the tooth enamel. Keep in mind that fluoride is safe for your kiddos and extremely effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities, but following these guidelines will help prevent your child’s teeth from discoloration.
As soon as two of their baby teeth touch, begin flossing between your child’s teeth at least once a day.
A balanced diet filled with nutritious foods is critical for both your child’s oral health and their overall health. Provide your kids with ample whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, and limit their intake of sugary foods and beverages. Sugary foods that are sticky and beverages that are sticky are particularly unhealthy for your child’s teeth because they linger in the mouth, giving cavity-causing bacteria more time to damage enamel.
Even with excellent oral hygiene, other problems with the teeth and jaw can arise—such as crooked or crowded teeth, an underbite or overbite, or extra teeth. If any such orthodontic problem arises, our expert dentists can evaluate your child’s particular dental needs to determine if orthodontic treatment is required.
Kids should visit the dentist for a checkup and cleaning twice a year. This allows us to monitor your child’s oral health and address minor problems before they become major, more painful issues.