Your child’s health is of utmost importance to you. From the bottom of their tippy-toes up to the precious hairs on the top of their head, each part of their body contributes to their overall well-being, and maintaining good oral health is no exception. You know probably know some ways to prevent cavities, but it is sometimes hard to gauge how much dental care your little one needs: when to start and when to let them take over.
Taking care of your infant’s gums is key to good oral hygiene before their first tooth erupts. Dental care for infants is relatively simple: since harmful bacteria can collect on your baby’s gums, running a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear it away is sufficient.
Your child’s first baby teeth will usually begin to emerge around six months of age and the last baby teeth break through around age three. These teeth are very important as they are used for eating, speaking, smiling, and keeping space in the jaws for permanent teeth.
Take care of baby teeth by brushing them for at least two minutes, twice a day with an appropriately sized soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste. Make toothbrush and toothpaste selection a fun activity by allowing them to choose a color, character, or flavor. When your child’s teeth start to touch, it is time to start flossing in order to remove food particles and bacteria that can cause cavities.
Typically, you will need to either help or at least supervise your child’s brushing and flossing until they are seven or eight years old. Usually, this is when they can start using a larger, soft-bristled toothbrush as some of their permanent teeth are beginning to grow in.
Before you hand the responsibility of their dental hygiene over, make sure that they are brushing every surface of their teeth for at least two minutes at least twice daily.
The ADA recommends that a child should visit a dentist six months after your baby’s first tooth comes into the mouth, but no later than their first birthday. This way, the dentist can teach you how to properly brush your baby’s teeth, perform an exam and educate on the proper oral health habits to establish at home. Getting children into the dentist early will help in alleviating fears as they grow older. Consider a pediatric dentist, like the experts at APDO who have experience with babies and toddlers.
At Affiliated Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, your child is our number one priority. Please contact us with any questions about how to take care of your child’s oral health or if you live in the North Phoenix or Scottsdale area, schedule an appointment for your child today!