Maintaining good oral health can be a challenge; it can be even more challenging to maintain the oral health of a youngster. That said, forming good dental hygiene habits and helping to encourage the growth of strong, healthy teeth and gums is an important part of maintaining your child’s health. Here are a few ways you can help your tot care for his or her little teeth:
Brushing baby teeth can be intimidating, and might seem superfluous, since baby teeth are destined to fall out. That said, it’s very important to keep your tot’s teeth brushed – from the time that first tooth erupts. In fact, it’s smart to begin wiping baby’s gums after feeding, even before he or she has a tooth. Until the baby is two, use a baby toothbrush with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste to gently brush any teeth. Do this twice a day. Not only will this keep those tiny teeth in better health, but it can build a dental hygiene habit that will serve your child for years to come.
Many parents get into the habit of sending their children to bed with a bottle or sippy cup of juice or milk. Unfortunately, the milk and juice tend to sit in your child’s mouth as he or she sleeps, essentially bathing the teeth in sugar. This sugar then promotes tarter build up and tooth decay. If you want to give your child a bottle or sippy cup at bedtime or naptime, only fill it with water.
Yes, baby teeth need flossing too. You’ll know when to start helping your child floss; any time two teeth touch each other, they’ll need flossing.
Even babies need dental check-ups. You should visit a pediatric dentist no later than six months after your baby gets his first tooth – or before the age of one.
Saliva-transferring behaviors, like sharing utensils, toothbrushes or wiping smudges on skin with saliva, should be avoided. These behaviors can pass around harmful bacteria, so make it a family practice to stop the sharing!
Got a dental-hygiene tip for kids? We’d love to hear it!