As a parent, it is your duty to make sure that your child has good oral health. It all starts when your child is a baby and continues throughout their whole life.
During baby teeth, help your child brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day. This will get rid of plaque and help your child's permanent tooth come in straight and healthy. Kids love to mimic Mom and Dad, so brushing can be a great bonding activity for you and your child!
If your child is old enough to spit while they're brushing, use toothpaste with fluoride in it. Children under three should only use a small smear of toothpaste on their brushes, and adults should help their kids brush until the age of eight. Once your child is old enough to do it alone, they should brush for at least two minutes each time.
Use a toothbrush with a soft head because hard bristles can damage gums and cause gum recession. Replace the toothbrush every three months or when the bristles are frayed.
Flossing should be done at least once daily before bed. You can buy flossers made specifically for young children that are easy to use and don't require much dexterity. Another option is a water flosser that will guide children on how to correctly floss their mouths. Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth and along the gum line.
Sugary foods and drinks are a major contributor to tooth decay and cavities, so avoid giving your kids lots of sugary snacks or beverages like soda. Even healthy foods such as fruit contain natural sugars that can cause problems when eaten in excess. Also, avoid putting a baby to bed with a bottle to prevent cavities. When your child can drink from a cup without spilling, switch to water or milk after they are finished eating for the night. Milk contains natural sugars which feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Liquids other than water erode the tooth enamel as they sit on it, which can cause cavities over time.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child see a pediatric dentist around their first birthday or after the first tooth comes in, whichever happens first. However, if your dentist has recommended earlier visits for your child due to special oral health needs, you should follow their advice. Your child should see the dentist every six to nine months to make sure that their smile is developing properly and that no cavities have formed. These early appointments also allow your pediatric dentist to spot any issues that may be developing with alignment or the bite before they cause major problems.
Regular visits to the dentist are also crucial for educating your child about the importance of caring for their teeth at home. They'll learn which foods to avoid in order to prevent tooth decay and how to make oral hygiene fun to keep the process interesting and engaging. Your pediatric dentist can recommend toothpaste and toothbrushes that are age-appropriate so that you're always using the right tools to care for your baby's smile.
Using pacifiers at a young age may seem like a good idea, but it actually disrupts the natural flow of saliva and jaw movement. After your child turns one year, it's time to ditch the pacifier for good. Then, focus on good oral hygiene habits and regular visits to the dentist's office to prevent cavities and other oral health issues.
To learn more, give our office a call at (702) 331-2121 to schedule your next one! We can't wait to see your smile soon and help you enjoy the benefits of visiting the dentist regularly this year!