Parents who want to ensure that their children grow up with healthy mouths should start teaching good dental hygiene early. This means creating and keeping a regular brushing routine starting before the first tooth has come in.
Dental Hygiene for Baby
Even babies require some dental care to prevent cavities. It’s recommended that parents use a soft, moist washcloth to wipe the baby’s gums once or twice during the day. This helps keep bad bacteria from building up.
After that first tooth comes in, parents can start brushing too. Use a baby toothbrush and a tiny amount, about the size of a grain of rice, of fluoride toothpaste. By the age of two, children should be learning to spit out the unwanted toothpaste, rather than swallowing when finished with their routine. Get in the habit of brushing their teeth twice a day, in the morning and at night.
As children get older, they can start to take over their own brushing. Until the age of six or so, parents should still be present to observe. This ensures that the child actually brushes when told and that they don’t swallow toothpaste.
The First Dental Appointment
Parents should bring baby into a children’s dentist for his first appointment around the age of one. At this time, the dentist can check to see if the baby teeth are coming in correctly. The dentist will also check for other potential problems, such as a jaw misalignment. An assistant will also go over good dental hygiene and techniques to use for brushing baby teeth.
This appointment should be shorter than average. To make things easier, parents can sit in the dental chair and hold the baby during the exam. The local dentist office may even offer a special kid’s themed exam room with smaller chairs and decorated walls.
Dental Sealants are a Preventative
When the first permanent teeth come in, the children’s dentist may recommend getting dental sealants. These are a thin plastic varnish applied to the chewing surface of a molar. Sealants help prevent caries that lead to cavities in children who may have trouble brushing. Whether looking to set up that first appointment or to get sealants, your local dentist office can help.