Dental habits are important for everyone, no matter what age you are because for the moment your teeth start to grow in you are at risk for tooth decay. As a parent, you should instill good dental habits in your children from a young age. You should be making sure their teeth are being brushed, whether that means brushing them yourself or watching them to make sure they properly brush their teeth.
Dental Hygiene for Children Based on Their Age
Before Teeth Come In: Infant dental care is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s future teeth! Even though there aren’t actual teeth in your baby’s mouth, dental hygiene is still important. Most kids by their fingers or pacifiers in their mouth, which can carry bacteria. To ensure dental health, you should take a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze and wipe out their mouths along their gums to get rid of bacteria.
When it comes to pacifiers, you might have read that it can help the baby use their pacifier if you dip it in honey, sugar or juice; while this might be true, the risk that comes along with it is not admirable. By coating the pacifier in sugar, they are at risk for tooth decay early on due to all of the sugar.
Most babies get their first tooth around 6 months. Once your baby starts developing teeth, make an appointment with a pediatric dentist to make sure they are growing in properly and that you are well equipped to take care of their teeth!
Teething: Teething can be a painful process for most babies, which is why it is important to understand what is normal during this process. Unfortunately, during teething, it is completely normal for your baby to be fussy, sleepless, irritable, have a loss of appetite, and even drool more. However, it is not normal for them to experience diarrhea, rashes or fevers. If they are experiencing anything abnormal, make an appointment with your dentist to check it out.
6 Months – 2 Years Old: At this time, your child probably has a few teeth coming in that need to be cared for. The best way to care for baby teeth is by brushing twice a day for them until they are able to do so themselves.
When you are brushing their teeth, be sure to use a child-size toothbrush and a small amount (about the size of a grain of rice) of toddler toothpaste; this is the kind that will be safe to swallow. You should encourage them to spit while they are brushing. Once they have two teeth that are right next to each other, you should start cleaning in between them by flossing.
3 Years Old and On: By the time children reach age 3, they should have almost all of their baby teeth making 20 baby teeth. Most children still cannot brush their own teeth properly at this age. Most dentists say that they can properly brush their teeth when they can properly tie their shoes by themselves. Until then, keep taking care of their precious little teeth and avoiding sugary snacks to avoid decay.
Once you decide it is their turn to brush their teeth, watch them to make sure they aren’t using too much toothpaste or accidentally swallowing it. Also, make sure that they are brushing twice a day and not skipping out!
Notably, most kids suck their thumbs and that is totally normal! However, if they are pushing 4 years old and still sucking, try to get them to stop because at this point it can start to make their jaws shift in their mouths.
Tips On Getting Kids Exciting About Dental Hygiene
It can be difficult to get kids to engage in a dental routine. Like most things with kids, the best way to make them care about dental hygiene is to make it fun. Try these tips to get your kids invested in their teeth from a young age:
- Allow your child to choose their toothbrush, it might be one with their favorite character or a fun color.
- Also, allow them to choose their toothpaste so that it’s a flavor they enjoy and don’t dread.
- Kids should be brushing for two minutes twice a day. In order to do so, set a timer or play a fun song that is two minutes so they can enjoy their favorite song and associate brushing their teeth with positive feelings.
- Reward your children! Reinforce how proud you are of them for brushing their teeth by getting them a healthy snack or give them small presents like stickers.
- Plan fun activities for after the dentist so that they don’t fear going to the dentist, but instead look forward to it!
Should a dental emergency arise, call Warr Pediatric Dental Associates so that we can help you in our emergency office. Once your child’s teeth begin to come in, come visit us so that we can help you prepare for taking care of their teeth and make sure their dental hygiene is good. If your child does develop a cavity, there are many child tooth decay treatment options.
We look forward to seeing you!