Helping Your Child to Succeed with Dental Health
Dental Health Begins Before Teeth
Helping your child succeed with dental health begins before the eruption of their first teeth. While your child is still an infant, you can use a damp washcloth to gently wash their gums after every feeding, which will help to remove lingering sugars and oral bacteria. This action acclimates your child to the idea of having their mouth cleaned.
Brushing should begin as the baby teeth begin to erupt. Typically, the teeth begin coming in around the age of six months. Some children get their first teeth earlier, while some may not get their first teeth until later. Use a soft-bristled brush and a rice-sized amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste and use gentle circular motions. Make sure that the toothbrush is designed for infants and toddlers. These toothbrushes have smaller heads and are designed for smaller mouths. Brushing should be done at least twice a day.
As your child gets older, you can let them begin to start brushing their teeth. For very young children, make sure that you stay with them and monitor their brushing. You may need to go through their teeth once they are done. Usually, around the age of 6, your child can begin brushing on their own, but you should continue monitoring them from a distance until they reach the age of 11.
Flossing should begin once the baby teeth begin to come together and touch one another. This usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 6. In the early stages of flossing, you will need to perform the task for them. Around the age of 6, your child can start flossing their teeth. Your child can floss with traditional floss or with specially designed floss picks. Make sure that you work with them to teach them proper technique.
The Importance of Dental Visits
Along with oral care at home, your child should also have their teeth professionally cleaned and examined at least twice a year. The first visit should occur six months following the eruption of their first teeth, or by their first birthday, which ever one comes first. Regular dental visits are crucial for helping to prevent oral health issues and spot issues in their earliest stages. We can monitor the growth and development of the mouth and help them to understand the importance of good oral care.
Helping your child to develop good oral hygiene habits at a young age will help to ensure a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile for a lifetime. If you have any questions about how to help your child call Douglas L. Park, DDS, Pediatric Dentistry today at (503) 663-8141.