Parents often question when it is time to start incorporating good dental practices into their children’s daily routine and the answer is it is never too soon to discuss good dental hygiene. Even with infants before teeth erupt, you can use gauze pads to clean the gums. Your infant doesn’t need to start seeing a provider at your family dentistry office before he has teeth but starting this practice early gets both you and the baby used to making oral hygiene a routine.
Additional dental health tips to promote dental heath in children are:
Bottles at Bedtime
Avoid the temptation to bottle feed your baby to sleep. The milk coats the teeth and can greatly increase the potential for tooth decay. If you must bottle feed the baby to sleep or give them a bottle in the middle of the night, use only water in the bottle.
Brush, Brush, Brush
Brushing your child’s teeth should be incorporated into the daily routine with brushing occurring both morning and evening before bed. If possible, brushing after meals or after sugary snacks can be implemented. Use fluoridated toothpaste and only a small pea sized amount. While the child is young, brush their teeth for them but when he reaches roughly 18 months old, you can let them hold the brush and attempt to brush and encourage their efforts. Following their attempt, you will need to perform a complete brushing after. This engages the child in the activity. A child is often not able to do a good job of brushing their own teeth until they are between the ages of 7 and 9.
Sugar creates an acidic environment and it takes the saliva a full 30 minutes to neutralize the acid. The more sugar your child eats, the greater the likelihood for decay. Keep in mind that sugar is not only considered candy — fruits contain large amounts of sugar, many snacks such as raisins are high in sugar and many fruit drinks marketed for children contain large amounts of sugar.
Regular Dental Visits
Start routine dental visits with a dentist by the age of 2. There are many family dentistry offices that can see both you and your child. Regular visits with your dentist can stay on top of any issue before it turns into a bigger problem and can help establish a good rapport between the dentist and child.