As a parent, you will want the best for your children’s oral health.
You no doubt have many questions about when they should start brushing their teeth, when they should visit the dentist, and how to prevent cavities.
We will give you those answers here.
When Should Kids Start Brushing Their Teeth?
Children can learn how to brush their baby teeth on their own from 3 years of age. You should train your child to brush twice a day, every day.
However, good dental care can start as soon as they are born.
Before they start teething, you can clean your baby’s mouth with a clean damp washcloth. Pass it over their gums to clear away harmful bacteria.
When their first tooth appears, you can start to brush your child’s teeth with a cloth or infant toothbrush. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states that you can use fluoride toothpaste when they are 18-months-old. The toothpaste should be about the size of a grain of rice.
When teeth start growing together, you can introduce floss and mouthwash. This will prevent them from developing gum disease.
After your kids have learned to spit out the toothpaste, you can increase the amount until you reach the standard pea-sized amount.
When Should Kids See a Dentist?
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your child’s first visit to the dentist should be within 6 months of their first baby tooth appearing or by their first birthday (whichever comes first).
At their first dental visit, the dentist will explain proper brushing and flossing techniques and do a modified exam while your baby sits on your lap. You can also ask your child’s dentist for advice on how to keep their teeth clean.
Regular dental checkups should continue every 6 months after that.
How Can You Prevent Cavities?
Cavities occur when bacteria and food leftover are not removed properly from the teeth.
This increases the acid levels in your child’s mouth, softening the tooth enamel. It then could soften until a cavity forms.
So how can you prevent tooth decay?
Even Babies Can Get Tooth Decay
If you put your baby to sleep with a bottle, your baby’s teeth will be exposed to the sugars in the juice or milk.
Kids from 6-months-old can start using a sippy cup (with a hard spout or straw). This will prevent the liquid from sitting on your baby’s teeth.
Start Good Dental Habits Early
Good oral health habits prevent dental decay. Teach your children to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and to floss regularly.
Get Enough Fluoride
Fluoride makes kids’ teeth strong. It toughens the enamel, making it harder for acid to penetrate.
Find out if your town adds fluoride to the tap water. Drinking water is a good way to get fluoride. If you use a water filter at home, then you can use oral fluoride supplements.
Most kinds of toothpaste don’t contain sufficient levels of fluoride to protect your kid’s teeth. Your dentist may also be able to apply fluoride varnish to your child’s first teeth.
Be careful, though. Too much fluoride can cause tooth discoloration. Ask your dentist about supplementing.
Stick to Healthy Foods
Sugary foods, sweet snacks, and sweetened drinks all erode enamel and cause cavities.
It is best to limit these and stick to healthier foods. However, if your kids eat these foods, encourage them to rinse their mouth or brush their teeth after eating to wash away the sugar.
When your child grows their permanent teeth, ask their dentist to apply sealants on their back teeth.
These teeth are harder to reach and to remove harmful bacteria from. Most children have fewer cavities with the use of sealants.
When Kids Have Dental Complications
Even when you help your children have good dental health, complications can occur when their adult teeth are growing.
The canines, or the wisdom teeth, sometimes don’t emerge as they should, causing tooth pain. An oral surgeon can help resolve these issues.
The oral surgeons at California Oral Surgery and Implantology can help remove wisdom teeth that are causing problems. They are located in Stockton, CA, and serve those that live in the surrounding region. Book now to make an appointment.