Caring for Your Child’s Teeth 2021
Helping your child form dental care habits at an early age will ensure strong, healthy teeth that will last a lifetime. In honor of Children’s Oral Health Month, our 80134 dentists share the following tips for taking care of your child’s teeth.
Never Too Early to Start Taking Care of Your Oral Health
Oral care begins as soon as a baby is born. Don’t wait until you see the first teeth erupting in order to start taking care of your child’s oral health. Instead, Dr. Chris Green, a dentist in Parker, CO, recommends that you use a damp cloth to wipe the gums of the baby after every feeding session. This will remove any food residues which may have fed bacteria and triggered oral health issues, such as infections.
Regulate Feeding Schedules
It is also unwise to leave your baby with his or her feeding bottle throughout the night or day while the baby is in the crib. Unregulated feeding increases the likelihood that oral bacteria will thrive in the mouth of your baby since there is unlimited access to sugary substances. Our family dental office in Paker, CO, recommends that you take away the feeding bottle as soon as the baby is full. Follow this with wiping the gums using a damp cloth, as suggested earlier.
Start Brushing Once Your Child’s Teeth Erupt
Dr. Chris Green explains that two front teeth in the lower jaw are normally the first to erupt in a baby’s mouth. Once these teeth appear, start brushing them without using any toothpaste. A baby toothbrush and plain water are sufficient at this stage. Why wouldn’t you use toothpaste at this stage? Our friend, Dr. Kim, an emergency dentist in Lexington, KY, explains that the ingredients of toothpaste may be very harsh for your young child at this point in their lives. Brush the teeth each morning and night for maximum benefit from this habit.
Know When to Introduce Toothpaste
Toothpaste contains compounds that kill bacteria, fight bad odor, and strengthen teeth. It is therefore important for you to introduce toothpaste to the oral care routine of your child as soon as possible. This should happen once your child learns how to spit when instructed. When this milestone is reached, introduce fluoride-free toothpaste and use it to brush your child’s baby teeth.
Instruct the child to spit the toothpaste out. Don’t worry if the baby swallows some of this toothpaste. Fluoride-free toothpaste isn’t harmful when swallowed, so the idea of using it is to get the child used to spit out all the contents of their mouth as you brush their teeth. Once the child can spit out everything, start using fluoride toothpaste. Use only a pea-sized portion until Dr. Chris Green recommends otherwise.
Introduce Flossing at Age 3
As soon as your child turns 3, introduce him or her to the habit of flossing. This will ensure that the dental plaque forming between teeth is removed together with any food particles. This will keep those areas of the teeth and gums clean even when a toothbrush cannot reach those sections to clean them properly.
Follow a Nutritious Diet
Green Dental Care also recommends that you pay close attention to your child’s diet as a way of supporting good oral health. Limit the intake of sugary and acidic foods. Soda, gummy bears, and citrus fruits and juices should be consumed in moderation to prevent cavities. Remember to brush the child’s teeth each time they consume sticky substances so that oral bacteria doesn’t get a feast. Sugar-free gum can be a good way to extract food remnants from teeth after a meal. Drinking water also helps in this regard.
Take Your Child for Their First Dental Visit in Parker
Dr. Chris Green recommends that you take your child to Green Dental Care for their first dental visit once they celebrate their first birthday. The pediatric dentist will examine your baby’s teeth and oral structures in order to identify any issues of concern at this point in time. The dentist in Parker, CO, will also advise you about what you need to do to enhance the oral care of your child at home. This is also the time for you to ask any questions you may have about taking care of your child’s oral health. The common questions which Dr. Chris Green encounters include questions on what type of toothbrush is ideal for the child, whether the child can use mouthwash as well as concerns about pediatric dental x-rays.
Like any other person, your child also needs to see the dentist every six months for professional dental cleanings and checkups. Schedule these visits accordingly so that any developing issue can be identified and addressed early.
How to Make Oral Care Fun for Your Child
As already mentioned, your kids need to get into the habit of taking proper care of their teeth as early as possible. However, you should not try to reason with your baby as a way of convincing him or her to embrace good dental care habits; the child is too young to appreciate logical arguments at that age! Dr. Green suggests that you instead use other means to make oral care fun for the child so that they participate willingly in the different routines.
The helpful ways to make oral care fun include letting the child select a toothbrush for themselves (such as one in their favorite color or with their favorite cartoon character), selecting their preferred toothpaste flavor, playing their favorite song, and telling them to brush until the song comes to an end (this ensures they will brush for at least two minutes) and planning a fun activity after making dental visits.
Remember to contact Dr. Chris Green at Green Dental Care if anything unusual, such as tooth pain or oral infection, develops in your child. Prompt action will address the issue and prevent your child from losing a tooth at this early stage in their life.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in June 2019 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.