Providing dental care for your child may start earlier then you thought. Even though you can’t see your child’s teeth when they are babies, they actually begin to form in the second trimester.
Many parents have questions regarding their child’s dental care, such as how early should my child be flossing? How much toothpaste should my child be using? How old should they be before we see the children’s dentist? Here are 4 items to consider when providing dental care for your child.
It’s Never Too Early to Start Dental Care
Even though you cannot see the teeth, protecting your baby’s gums before teething occurs will help lay the foundation to a healthy mouth. Before they have teeth to brush, take a damp washcloth over your child’s gums to eliminate bacteria that may be harmful.
When you child’s teeth begin to grow in, brush them with an infant toothbrush using water and fluoride toothpaste that carries the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance. Only a tiny amount is needed, about the size of a grain of rice. There isn’t a magic age to start flossing your baby’s teeth, once the teeth begin to touch is the appropriate way of knowing it’s time.
Getting Your Child Not to Swallow Toothpaste
At approximately 2 years old, your child should begin spitting while brushing. Most children are tempted to swallow the toothpaste rather than spitting it out because they are used to swallowing their food and drink, and most children’s toothpaste have an appealing taste to make brushing easier. To avoid this, do not give your child water to swish the toothpaste before they spit, as this makes swallowing toothpaste more likely to occur. We recommend supervising your child as they brush their teeth until they are about 8 years old to ensure they are brushing properly and to help prevent your child from swallowing toothpaste.
Avoid Too Much Bottle Time
Even if you are practicing ideal dental care for your child, what you are putting into their mouth plays a factor into their oral health. Babies can develop tooth decay if you do not practice healthy feeding habits, such as giving your baby a bottle to sleep with at night. While this may make your job as a parent easier, the sugars from the juice or milk remain on the baby’s teeth for hours. When this happens, the sugars can eat away at the enamel, creating pitted, discolored front teeth and sometimes even cavities from a condition called bottle mouth.
Sucking on a bottle can also be damaging to a child’s teeth, where babies as young as 6 months are recommended to drink from a sippy cup. To prevent your child from having their bottle too much bottle time, set specific times of the day where your child can have access to their bottle.
Planning Your Child’s First Trip to the Dentist
The American Dental Association recommends children visit a dentist by the time they turn 1 years old. During your child’s visit to the dentist, they will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques and conduct a modified exam that is catered to children. If your child display any risk for cavities or other problems, the dentist may start applying topical fluoride even before all teeth come in. Benefits of fluoride include harding the tooth enamel, and warding off common childhood oral diseases such as cavities.
We recommend booking appointments in advance on a consistent basis. Request an appointment by filling out the form here or call us at 419.475.3494.