Every parent wants their child to have healthy teeth. Starting early with good habits can mean a lifetime of happy smiles and dental health. Here is a quick list of do’s and don’ts.
DON’T send them to bed with a bottle of anything other than water.
Baby Bottle Rot, or the formation of dental cavities in one or several teeth, can be devastating and is completely preventable. No bottles to bed unless the bottle is filled with water. Finishing bottles before bedtime is the healthiest route for you child. Milk or juice in a bottle at bedtime might be the most important habit to avoid with young children.
DON’T use pacifiers after the age of one.
The chronic use of pacifiers can cause the front teeth to flare out dramatically and will also actually re-shape the contours of the upper jawbone. While this damage may be correctable with orthodontics later on, sometime the damage remains permanent. Avoid pacifiers if your child is over 12 months old.
DO clean your child’s teeth after their first meal and before bed, as soon as their first teeth appear.
For younger kids, this is best done with a square of gauze. As they get older, a toothbrush is preferred. Only use kid’s toothpaste as the flavor is more mild and the fluoride level is safe in the event that much of the paste is swallowed instead of spit out. Sometimes a $5 “superhero” or “princess” electric toothbrush that plays music increases a child’s interest in brushing. Parental help is often needed until the child is a bit older.
DO visit a dentist by three years old.
The exception to this is if your child describes any form of mouth or tooth discomfort or if visible signs of potential tooth problems are observed. Because kids develop at different speeds, the first dental visit may be an exam only where a connection can be made in a trusting and comfortable environment. Other times, a cleaning and other preventive procedures may be appropriate. While the professional dental care may be really helpful, a major aspect of the child’s first few dental visits is the development of trust in and comfort with the dental office. These first experiences can set the tone for how this person will feel about dental care in the future.
Give your child a head start with healthy dental habits early. Doing the right dental things for young children can prevent tooth and gum problems and can start kids on a path of great dental experiences that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
At Turner Dental Care, we go out of our way to make kid’s dental visits exceptional and to provide fabulous dental care for them. Visit us at TurnerDentalCare.com for more information.