Taking care of your child’s smile as an adult actually starts when their baby teeth erupt. This may sound puzzling, because baby teeth fall out and are eventually replaced with the permanent adult teeth. The reason it’s important to take care of a child’s baby teeth is because they act as nature’s braces, because they hold space in the jaw for the not-yet-erupted permanent teeth. When a child’s baby teeth fall out prematurely, the permanent teeth may drift into the empty spaces, making it more difficult for the other permanent teeth to find room when they come in.
As a parent, you can prevent many of your child’s dental mishaps by making sure you pay careful attention to their oral health. You can ensure their mouths are healthy by following simple oral hygiene protocol, and keeping current with regular dental checkups and cleanings.
The following are pointers for parents for proper oral hygiene in children:
- Take your child to the dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts, and no later than the first birthday. This serves as a “well-baby checkup” for the teeth, and it provides parents the opportunity to learn how to clean the teeth properly, and how to handle bad habits like thumb sucking.
- Do not put sugary liquids, including diluted juice, in a baby bottle, especially while your baby is in bed, as this can lead to “baby bottle tooth decay.”
- Even before the teeth erupt, you can clean your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or a soft, damp washcloth.
- Use fluoride toothpaste as soon as the teeth come in with a small smear of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. Brush the teeth twice per day, and supervise children while they brush their teeth.
- By age 3 until age 6, your child should use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste, and continue to brush thoroughly twice per day.
- Use a soft-bristled, child-sized toothbrush and the correct amount of toothpaste depending on your child’s age.
- Once your child has two side-by-side teeth the touch, you should start to clean between their teeth daily.
Caring for a child’s teeth is relatively simple, and your child’s pediatric dentist can help you come up with an action plan for a proper oral hygiene regimen. To learn more about pediatric dental care, please contact Adventure Dental today by calling (661) 276-8755 to book your child’s dental appointment.