Teaching your child good dental hygiene practices is as important as teaching them to take care of themselves in other ways. Ensuring your child knows how to take care of his teeth will help reduce the likelihood of cavities and tooth loss throughout his life. Your family dentist can provide numerous tips and suggestions for encouraging good dental hygiene starting even before your child’s first teeth arrive.
Early Dental Hygiene Practices
Your infant child requires help taking care of herself, and this applies to dental health as well as feeding, changing, bathing, and nutrition. Before your baby’s first teeth arrive, you can accustom her to oral hygiene by cleaning her gums with a piece of soft gauze. Although there are no teeth yet to experience decay, removing lingering traces of milk or formula can help keep her mouth clear of bacteria.
Ensuring your child knows how to take care of his teeth will help reduce the likelihood of cavities and tooth loss throughout his life.
When the first tooth arrives, you can clean it with gauze, as well, or you can upgrade to a small, soft toothbrush specifically designed for infants. Consult with your family dentist about the best tools to use and whether or not you should use toothpaste. If you do use toothpaste, use one designed for small children and be sure to use very small quantities.
Developing Good Dental Habits
Before you know it, your child will be able to brush his own teeth. You can increase his chances of success by providing appropriate tools and encouraging him to use them regularly. You’ll still have to help—even if your child is old enough and coordinated enough to use a toothbrush, he’s still likely to miss places. To reduce the chances of decay, you can help by doing a “touch-up” brushing after your child has brushed on his own.
You should also consult with your family dentist about the most appropriate time for your child’s first visit. Many dentists recommend a first visit at about a year or eighteen months, while others would like to start seeing your child as soon as the first tooth has arrived. Your dentist can help your child learn appropriate brushing and flossing techniques, and will keep track of any irregularities that could indicate problems or early signs of decay.
Contact our experienced and caring dental to learn more about keeping your little one’s teeth clean and healthy.