Good oral hygiene should start before your child’s first teeth erupt. Although baby teeth will eventually fall out, they still need to be taken care of so that your child’s permanent teeth develop properly. By starting your child off with good oral hygiene habits, you can help them have healthy teeth for life. Your child’s permanent teeth are developing and growing under the baby teeth, and this is why it is so important to start good oral hygiene habits early in their life.
Early Oral Care
Dentists recommend using a soft damp cloth to wipe out your baby’s mouth. You can also use a baby gum massager. This removes food debris and helps to cut down on the bacteria present in their mouths. Once your child’s teeth begin to appear, brush them gently with water and a soft toothbrush. Baby teeth generally begin appearing between three to six months of age. Check your child’s gums to make sure they are healthy and pink. If not, schedule an appointment with your dentist to rule out any problems. You should schedule a checkup for your child within the first six months after their first teeth appear to help monitor their oral health and set them up for healthy teeth and gums later in life.
Around the ages of 12 to 24 months you can begin to use a pea-size amount of toothpaste and a soft bristle brush to brush your child’s teeth. Ask your dentist about fluoride toothpaste. If your area has fluoridated water, your child may not need it. You should begin to floss your child’s teeth once they appear, too. Flossing removes debris and bacteria the brush can’t and is a good habit to get into for your child.
Childhood Oral Care
Most dentists recommend letting your child begin to brush their own teeth around the age of six. As soon as your child can handle holding a toothbrush and using the proper technique, they can begin to brush their own teeth. You should still monitor their brushing, helping them learn proper brushing and flossing techniques. Guide your child in the proper brushing and flossing techniques and set a good example by practicing good brushing and flossing yourself.
It may be a challenge to get your child to brush their teeth as long as necessary. Some fun ways to get them your child to brush longer are to set a timer, brush to a favorite song, or brush their teeth during a commercial break of their favorite show. By developing good habits early, your child can have healthy teeth and gums and their permanent teeth have a better chance of being healthy and cavity free.
Dr. Taylor and her staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have about your child’s oral care. Contact or call our office today and set up your child’s first appointment and set them on their journey to healthy teeth and gums.