How To Care For Your Child’s Teeth
April 22, 2019
Many parents struggle with keeping up with their children’s oral care. As they grow, their teeth change and need different care. It is important to know what to do at every stage. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you understand proper teeth care for every stage of your children’s lives.
When Should I Start Brushing My Child’s Teeth?
Good dental hygiene begins before your child’s teeth ever start to show. Even though you can’t see their teeth doesn’t mean they aren’t already there. Babies begin developing teeth during the second trimester of pregnancy. At birth, they have a full set of primary teeth developed in the jaw.
Here’s how to care for their teeth at every stage:
Before Teeth Appear- Even before your baby starts teething it is important to pay attention to their dental hygiene. Regularly wipe their gums with a damp cloth to remove any built-up bacteria.
When Teeth Appear- Once your baby has started developing teeth it is time to brush them. Use an infant safe toothbrush and fluoride free toothpaste. You should not use fluoride yet because your child cannot spit it out. You can also begin flossing when their teeth begin to touch.
Around age 3 – Children typically learn how to spit when brushing their teeth between 1-3 years old. At this point, it is safe to switch to fluoride toothpaste. However, do not let your child rinse their mouth with water, this could increase the risk of them swallowing fluoride.
Until age 8 – Children will typically want to start brushing on their own at an early age. If so, give them the independence to develop good oral hygiene habits by letting them brush by themselves. But be sure to brush their teeth again when they are finished and supervise for safety.
When Should They See a Dentist?
The ADA recommends that your child see a dentist by their first birthday. At the first visit, the dentist will explain proper flossing and brushing techniques, while your baby sits in your lap. A dentist can catch signs of problems, plan to prevent them, or fix them. Start bringing your child to the dentist at an early age, it will help establish good oral health later on. It can also prevent your child from having a fear of the dentist.
How to Avoid Cavities?
Cavities develop when particles of food or bacteria are left on teeth and gums and are not properly brushed away. Acid builds up on the teeth creating tiny holes, also known as cavities.
Here’s what to do:
Get Enough Fluoride- Once your child is old enough to use fluoride toothpaste it is important that they do so. Your child should be brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. The fluoride strengthens their tooth enamel, making it harder for acid to penetrate. Many cities have fluoride in their water system to help fight against cavities. Check your city’s water supply, if it does not have fluoride ask your dentist for fluoride tablets for an extra boost to fight against cavities.
Limit/Avoid Certain Foods- Sugary foods such as gummies, sticky candies, and juices should be limited or avoided altogether. These foods erode enamel and can cause cavities. If your child is eating sugary things make sure they are rinsing their mouth out with water or brushing their teeth 30 minutes after eating.
As your children grow, they need to see our dentist regularly, we recommend every 6 months. Make sure they are brushing twice a day, flossing often, and staying away from sugary foods. This will help them to have strong teeth and a healthy smile for life!