Good dental care begins earlier than you think. It’s recommended to begin dental care even before a baby’s first tooth appears. That’s because the baby’s teeth are already growing, even if they aren’t visible yet. In fact, In the second trimester of pregnancy is the time when teeth actually begin to grow. By birth, your child already has 20 primary teeth underneath their gums!
If healthy habits are not maintained, even babies can develop tooth decay. It may be easy to put a child to sleep with a bottle, but it may damage the baby’s teeth.
Cavities can occur in older kids when bacteria and food left on the teeth are not cleaned away after eating. Acid slowly begins to soften a tooth until a hole forms.
Whether your kid one or eleven, here’s how to keep cavities away:
- Set limits on bottle time. Parents should give young children particular drinking times every day because excessive use of a bottle throughout the day can damage young teeth.
- Get enough fluoride. Using fluoride makes the enamel stronger in your teeth, making it harder for acid to get in. Find it in toothpastes, and enquire with your local government about whether your local water supply contains it.
- Limit or avoid certain foods. Anything sugary like candy or fruit juice can cause tooth decay.
When should kids start brushing their teeth?
Dentists recommend that you brush and floss the teeth of your child for them until they are sufficiently coordinated to tie their own shoes, generally around 6 years of age. Even at that stage, to be sure they’re brushing properly, you should still monitor their brushing until you are sure they can do it by themselves.
Here are some tips for brushing the teeth of young children:
- Use a clean, damp washcloth to wipe over the gums even before your child begins teething to clear away damaging bacteria.
- Brush with a baby toothbrush once your child gets their first tooth. Use water and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a rice grain.
- Once your baby’s teeth touch, you can begin flossing in between them.
- Your kid should learn to spit out the liquid after brushing when they get to around 2 years of age. Don’t give your child water as it may encourage them to swallow the toothpaste in their mouth.
- Only a pea-sized quantity of fluoride toothpaste should be used by children aged 3 and up.
Establishing good teeth brushing habits
If your child is old enough to brush their own teeth, but when the time comes, they put up a fuss, don’t let them get away with it. Make it clear that this is something they have to do. Here’s how to encourage your little one to develop health brushing habits:
- Be patient. With the assistance of an adult around 2 or 3, children can begin brushing their teeth. But until about age 6, they may be prepared to go it alone.
- Don’t wait too late in the day. Your child may not want to brush, floss, and rinse if they are tired.
- Give your child a choice of toothpaste to use. Children 5 or older can select their own alternatives from a selection you have already pre-agreed.
- Motivate. For example, a younger kid might be swayed by a star or sticker chart. Children may also have a greater chance of starting if they see the grown-ups or an older sibling brushing too.
When should my child go to the dentist?
The ADA advises that by their first birthday kids should see a dentist. The dentist will offer more information on brushing and flossing methods for your child during this first visit and will perform a light dental examination while your child is sitting on your lap. These visits can discover issues early and help children get used to visiting the dentist so that as they get older, they will have less fear about making the trip.
As children develop, schedule regular dental check-ups anywhere from once every 3 months to once a year. By promoting good dental hygiene, watching out for problem foods and keeping in regular contact with a dentist, your child will grow up in excellent dental health.
We look forward to treating your growing kids aged 8 and above. Whether it’s time for a six-month check-up or sealants on the 12-year molars of your child, we’re ready for your call! Contact us today to set up an appointment.