There is more to good oral hygiene than having a dazzling smile. The way you take care of your teeth, gums and mouth will have an impact on your overall physical health, so it is essential that good oral hygiene start as early as infancy. As a parent, it is important to know what to expect as your child ages and the different oral health care that is unique to the different stages of life. Here are a few useful tips to help you ensure your child has good oral health throughout their life.
Even before their first tooth comes in, it is important to clean your baby’s gums. You can either use a washcloth or a soft bristled toothbrush to gently clean their gums. Children typically cut their first tooth between the ages of 4-months to one year. As soon as they cut their first tooth, you should schedule an appointment for your baby to see a pediatric dentist. Good oral hygiene tips for your infant should include:
- Gently clean the infants gums after each feeding.
- Avoid putting the baby to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice. These liquids contain sugars that encourage the growth of bacteria which can damage tooth enamel and promote cavities. If your child has to have a bottle at bedtime, it is best to give them water in their bottle.
- Once their first tooth appears, use a toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste that is rated for infant use.
- Brush your child’s teeth or clean their gums before bedtime to remove the sugars and acids that can damage children’s teeth during the night.
When your children reach the toddler age, which is 1-3 years of age, they should begin learning how to correctly brush their own teeth. Encourage toddlers to brush their teeth at least twice each day, especially after breakfast and before bedtime. Ask your dentist to demonstrate how to floss your toddlers teeth. If your toddler sucks their thumb or uses a pacifier, it may affect the shape of the mouth and/or their bite, so it recommended that you talk with their dentist about how to help them break this habit. During this age, juices should be limited to just one small cup each day in order to limit sugar intake, which can lead to tooth decay.
Regardless of your child’s age, it is important to maintain a daily dental routine, which should include brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once each day and visiting the dentist regularly. The key to helping your child have good oral health is encouraging them to eat healthy foods, avoid sugary foods and having good communications with their pediatric dentist regarding any specific dental problems.
Let’s make sure your child is off to a healthy start — Schedule an appointment for your child today by calling our office 619-285-1200.