Parents usually have a ton of questions when it comes to dental care for their kids: When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time? Is my child old enough to start flossing yet? How will I know if my child needs braces?
You want to do what’s best for your child, and that includes making sure that their dental needs are taken care of. Parents all know that good oral hygiene is important for preventing cavities, but they are not always clear on exactly what it is they should be doing.
When you need an experienced pediatric dentist in Vista, CA, turn to the team at All Smiles. You can trust us when we tell you that we’ve seen and heard it all!
We’ve put together this quick list of tips to help you keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong. Take a look!
Good Dental Care Starts Earlier Than You Think
Most people think that dental care for children will start once they get their first tooth, but it actually begins long before that.
Just because teeth are not yet visible in your baby’s mouth doesn’t mean that they aren’t present. In fact, by your third trimester of pregnancy, teeth have already started to form. And once your bundle of joy finally arrives, they’ll have 20 primary teeth. Some of these teeth will actually be fully developed in the jaw, although they’ll usually be under the gum line for a while.
Here are a few ways that you can help care for your little one’s teeth:
- Run a clean, damp washcloth across your baby’s gums, even before their teeth erupt. This will help remove bacteria that cause cavities and decay.
- Once your baby’s teeth finally make an appearance, you should use an infant toothbrush to help keep them clean.
- Use a small amount of fluoride toothpaste and water so that the teeth remain protected as they come in.
- As soon as your baby has two teeth touching, it’s a good idea to begin a regular flossing routine.
- When your child turns two years old, they should start learning how to spit while brushing. However, you should refrain from giving your child water to use for swishing and spitting since this can increase the chance that they will swallow toothpaste.
- Young children only need to brush with toothpaste that is about the size of a rice grain.
- After age three, they should only need a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush with.
- Children younger than eight should always be supervised while brushing their teeth to reduce the amount of toothpaste swallowed.
It may be hard for you to imagine, but babies can get tooth decay just like adults. That is why they should never go to bed with a bottle. Juice, formula, and milk all contain sugars that can stay on a baby’s teeth and cause decay. This can create painful cavities that, in severe cases, can result in a tooth or multiple teeth needing to be pulled.
Once kids reach six months old, they can begin using sippy cups with a hard spout or straw. These types of cups keep liquid from pooling around the teeth. By the age of one, your child will have developed enough motor skills and coordination to drink directly from the cup.
When to Schedule a Dental Cleaning for Kids
The American Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist by the time they turn one year old. During your appointment, the dentist will examine your baby’s teeth and provide a detailed explanation of proper brushing and flossing techniques that should be part of your child’s daily oral care routine.
Search “children’s dentistry in Vista, CA” and you will find that All Smiles is one of the top providers in the area. Our skilled and knowledgeable team of professionals will thoroughly examine your child’s teeth to help identify issues early on. We’ll then create a treatment plan that will get and keep your child’s oral care on track.
It’s also important to get your child to a dentist sooner rather than later so that they can get used to these visits. This will help them to have less anxiety about visiting the dentist as they get older.
Pediatric dentists specialize in a wide range of issues related to kids’ dental health. They can also refer your child to another type of specialist if your child requires a particular treatment plan to correct problems like an overbite, underbite, or crowded teeth.
Your child’s dentist may apply a topical fluoride even before the teeth erupt. This is usually done as a preventative measure when a child appears to be at high risk for cavities or other concerns related to their oral care. Fluoride helps to protect and strengthen tooth enamel to prevent cavities and plaque build-up.
How to Help Your Child Avoid Cavities
Bacteria from leftover food particles on our teeth release acids that can erode the surface and lead to tooth and gum decay. Over time, this can cause a hole in the tooth, better known as a cavity.
However, there are things we can do to protect our teeth and keep cavities away. These include:
Establishing Good Oral Habits Early: Teach kids to brush at least twice per day and floss regularly.
Use Toothpaste That Contains Fluoride: Just a small amount is enough to help harden tooth enamel and keep acids from food and bacteria at bay.
Maintain a Healthy Diet: Children should avoid consuming sugary foods, drinks, and anything that sticks to the teeth. If your child does eat these foods, make sure they rinse their teeth with water and brush afterward.
By teaching your children how to avoid cavities early on, you’ll help to set them up with healthy smiles for life.
Schedule a Dental Cleaning Near You
Routine dental checkups are important. Contact All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry for help with treating and safeguarding your child’s oral health.