Most babies begin developing teeth between 6 and 12 months, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. With proper care, your child’s smile can last them a lifetime. Parents can help their children develop good dental habits from a young age. Most importantly by demonstrating correct brushing and flossing techniques, limiting surgery treats, and visiting a pediatric dentist often.
Oral Hygiene for Infants
Although your baby may be born with a gummy smile, he already has all of his teeth hidden under the gums. Gum health impacts dental health. Thus, it is important to practice good oral hygiene even before your baby’s first tooth erupts.
Remove harmful bacteria from the mouth with a clean, soft washcloth after each feeding. Avoid letting your baby sip on milk or juice for long periods or fall asleep with a bottle. After teeth begin to emerge, brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Also use a rice-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste.
Visit a Ponte Vedra dentist by your baby’s first birthday. Regular visits to a pediatric dentistry practice can help make your child more comfortable with the dentist. Early and preventative care will allow your provider to spot signs of potential dental problems before they become bigger issues.
Oral Hygiene for Children
Most children will have all of their baby teeth by the age of three. These are referred to as primary teeth. They will usually begin falling out around age six when permanent or ‘adult’ teeth start erupting. It is important for children of all ages to practice proper dental care to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
The primary steps involved in dental care include:
Assist your child with brushing at least twice a day, once after breakfast and again before bed. Show your child how to properly brush the fronts and backs of each tooth. Make sure to include the teeth along the sides and in the back of the mouth too. Children should spend at least two to three minutes brushing. Consider using a timer or playing a song to help pass the time. Let children choose their own toothbrush color or character to make brushing more fun.
By age three, children should begin using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay. Teach your child to brush his teeth in small, circular motions while holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle. Don’t scrub too hard against the gum-line as this can irritate the gums.
Flossing should begin whenever your child has two teeth that touch, usually around age two or three. Regular flossing helps to remove debris that may get stuck between the teeth, polish tooth surfaces, and control bad breath. There are several types of dental floss available for children. There is waxed and unwaxed, wide and regular, flavored or unflavored, and textured and smooth.
Cut off a piece of floss that is about 18 to 20 inches long. Wrap each side of the floss several times around each middle finger. Gently move the floss between each tooth in an up and down motion. Be sure to get below the gum line and bend the floss into the shape of a C around the side of each tooth.
Both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children establish a relationship with a pediatric dentist by age one. During a standard dental checkup, a pediatric dentist will ensure that all of your child’s teeth are developing properly and that there are no signs of dental issues.
For those who reside in areas where the water is not fluoridated, your dentist may prescribe fluoride tablets or drops. The dentist may also apply a topical fluoride solution to your child’s teeth following a cleaning to help protect against cavities. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s dental health, checkups are the perfect time to ask.
Schedule a Dental Checkup
Healthy teeth and gums are crucial to your child’s overall health. Establish good dental care from a young age with help from our Ponte Vedra family dentistry practice. Contact Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today to schedule a dental checkup.