Healthy teeth start at an early age. Find out what parents can do to prevent cavities and encourage good oral hygiene in kids.
Dental Care for Babies
You may be surprised to learn that proper oral hygiene begins before children have teeth. That’s right–when they’re wee babies, they need care of the gums. Run a wet washcloth over their teeth gently (no need to use a lot of pressure) to remove bacteria from the gums.
Avoid putting babies to sleep with a bottle, as this can encourage tooth decay when the sugars in the milk or formula remain in contact with the teeth for hours. Signs of “bottle mouth,” as the phenomenon is known, include tooth discoloration or tooth pitting. In extreme cases, cavities can develop or decayed baby teeth may need to be pulled.
When children reach the age of six months, switch from a bottle to a sippy cup, which directs liquid beyond a child’s teeth, where the sugars in the liquid are less likely to cause harm.
Dental Care During Toddler Years
Teething is a difficult time for wee ones. As a parent, make sure to keep up with appropriate dental care. As teeth emerge, switch from using the washcloth to brushing their teeth. Use a small amount of flavored toothpaste on an infant sized toothbrush–think a grain of rice.
As soon as your children have teeth that touch, you can begin flossing their teeth using gentle pressure and a light touch.
When children reach age two, you may teach them to spit out toothpaste while brushing their teeth. Around age three, children can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and learn to rinse the mouth by swishing water.
Continue to supervise your child in tooth brushing until the age of eight.
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Your child should have their first dental visit at the age of one. During the one-year dental exam, our Tampa dentist will conduct an age-appropriate dental exam while you hold your child on your lap. We will go over the basics of oral hygiene for young children. During this time, we can recommend our favorite dental products for children, demonstrate techniques, and evaluate your child’s oral health. Children who display signs of oral health issues, such as jaw misalignment, can be referred for oral surgery.
One may seem young for a first dental visit, but starting your child on dental visits early is beneficial. Not only can a dentist catch problems early, when treatment is easier, they can gain the trust of your child. Children who delay dental visits are likelier to be fearful of the dentist. When scheduling an appointment for your child, always make sure the dentist has experience working with pediatric patients, like our Tampa dentists do.
Get Pediatric Dental Care in Tampa
Our Tampa dentists are here for the needs of children and adults. To get pediatric dental care or schedule your child’s first dental visit, reserve an appointment online today.