To keep your young one as healthy as possible, you need to know how to care for your child’s teeth as best as you can. Even though he or she will lose those baby teeth in the next few years, maintaining a healthy mouth and teaching good oral health habits early will save your child pain (both literally and figuratively) in the future. We’ll explain what you should be doing as the parent, as well as why it’s important to stay on top of these habits.
How to Care for Your Child’s Teeth
The biggest problem children face when it comes to their teeth is tooth decay—cavities. This is what you, as the parent, can play a big role in preventing when you care for your child’s teeth. Tooth decay can . . .
- Cause your child pain—pain from both the decay itself and sometimes from the measures it takes to remedy the cavities.
- Create dental fear. When a person’s earliest experiences with the dentist are fillings, it makes seeing the dentist intimidating in the future.
- Make it difficult for your child to chew his or her food.
- Create problems for your child’s adult teeth. This is one of the most important reasons you want to prevent tooth decay, and understanding how to care for your child’s teeth will make a significant difference.
Now, we’ll explain what to do to make sure your young one’s teeth and mouth stay as healthy as possible.
- Brush your child’s teeth twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste made for children. You only need a small amount, pea-sized at most. Brush the teeth thoroughly, but very gently, as you do not want to harm your child’s gums. Teach your child to spit after brushing as early as you can.
- Very young children (toddlers who have just had their teeth come in) have a higher tendency to swallow toothpaste. For these children, you may want to choose a toothpaste without fluoride. Consult your dentist to be sure.
- Children can usually brush on their own under supervision by age three, and completely on their own by age eight.
- Floss your child’s teeth at least once per day, using a product made for children. Again, be very gentle.
- Children can usually floss their own teeth by age eight.
- Take your child to the dentist as soon as his or her teeth begin to come in. Tooth decay can begin as early as infancy, so this trip to the dentist is one of the first steps in prevention.
- Keep up these dental visits every six months. Children’s teeth develop so quickly that it is important to keep an eye on them this often. Plus, these visits will help create a positive attitude toward the dentist and prevent dental fear.
- Try to minimize sugary drinks in your home. If your family enjoys these drinks often, encourage your kids to drink a glass of water afterwards to keep those sugars from settling in their mouths.