Below you will find some helpful dental health tips to keep your children’s smiles healthy and bright for a lifetime.
Oral Hygiene for Infants
Babies are born with all their teeth, but they are not visually present at birth. Baby teeth start to erupt into the mouth between six months and one year old, but it is essential to create good dental care for infants even before the first tooth erupts into the mouth.
- Wipe your baby’s gum tissues with a soft washcloth after each feeding. This washcloth helps remove the bacteria and excess food debris that can lead to tooth decay.
- Once the teeth begin to erupt, it is essential to brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. The toothpaste should be used in an amount no more than a smear the size of a grain of rice. It is recommended to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Take the bottle away as soon as your child finishes drinking. This is to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay happens when babies drink milk, formula, or juice from bottles over extended periods or fall asleep drinking their bottle.
- Schedule your child’s first dental appointment right around their first birthday or after their first baby tooth is visible, whichever comes first. This dental visit is like a well-baby check with your pediatrician.
Oral Hygiene for Children
As kids grow, their dental hygiene habits should become more advanced.
Most kids have all of their primary teeth around the age of 3. Baby teeth start falling out for most children around age 6. This is usually when the permanent teeth start erupting. Gaps between baby teeth are typical. These gaps make room for permanent teeth. Most kids have their permanent teeth come in by age 13.
Establishing the Best Oral Hygiene Routine for Children
Below are some dental hygiene tips to help keep your child’s teeth healthy starting at age 3:
- Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride and make sure your child spits it out after completion of brushing
- Ensure your child brushes for a minimum of 2 minutes at least twice a day
- Start flossing as soon as teeth gaps close, or even earlier to help build good dental habits.
- Help your child brush and floss, and remind them to pay attention to the back teeth.
- Visit the dentist routinely every six months.
Oral Hygiene for Preteens
As children get older and more permanent teeth begin to come in, a rigorous daily dental hygiene regimen is crucial to keeping teeth and gum tissues healthy. However, it can be challenging to keep preteens interested in their dental care.
Try these tips to focus your child on dental hygiene:
- As preteens become more aware of their outward appearance, dental hygiene routines can become easier for some kids.
- Remind your child to brush at least 2x a day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes, which not only fights tooth decay and strengthens teeth. This will also give them fresh breath. An electric toothbrush might make brushing more manageable and more fun for preteens.
- Flossing becomes extremely important at this point as most kids will have all permanent teeth erupted already, and cleaning between them will help prevent tooth decay and keep their mouths fresh.
- Children who are active in sports should wear a mouth guard to protect their teeth from trauma.
- Make sure kids who wear braces are even more diligent about dental hygiene.
Watch The Drinks They Consume!
Fruit juice can be a healthier alternative to energy drinks, soda, and other artificial drinks. However, fruit juice also poses some very dangerous risks to your child’s oral health. The extremely high sugar content level in these drinks can damage your child’s smile by increasing the tooth decay risk.
This increased tooth decay risk is especially true if drinking thru a sippy cup or constantly drinking throughout the day without regular brushing or rinsing. An excellent oral health tip is to mix fruit juices with water. The water will at minimum help rinse away the damaging sugar, lower the sugar intake, and keep them well hydrated. Hydration is especially important in a hot climate like Las Vegas.
Lead By Example
Parents need to show their children how to maintain a healthy smile. They can do this by maintaining a regular dental hygiene regimen at home along with regular dental visits. Brushing and flossing can turn into a family activity in the morning and evening if possible. Not every member of a busy family follows the same schedule, so this might be tough to follow. But something to consider.
Tooth brushing should be at minimum 2 minutes in length. This brushing should include both our teeth’ inner and outer surfaces. Flossing should be similar, flossing around and in between all tooth surfaces to ensure cleaning all teeth in your child’s smile.
By the time your child is 2, your child should have the knowledge and dexterity to brush and even floss properly on their own with limited help from you. If they are under the age of 2, you should be brushing and flossing for them in these early stages to ensure they are learning from you and keeping their developing mouth oral health in check.
Another good dental hygiene tip is to make brushing and flossing into a sort of game with rewards. Keep a chart in the bathroom with dental hygiene goals to work towards for your children. In time, these early dental health habits will become a part of the everyday routine, and your kids will no longer need to be rewarded as often.
Maintaining Regular Visits To The Dentist
Most anxiety and fears that people have developed are from their parent’s experiences not their own. If a parent exhibits a fear of the dentist, most children will also be frightened even without their own bad experiences.
Your child should start routine dental visits by about the age of 1. This stage of development is usually when the first teeth begin to erupt into the mouth. Your child will also become very familiar with the sounds, sights, and different people in a dental office and feel comfortable as they grow.
Chew Sugarless Gum
Many kids love chewing gum. Chewing gum is an excellent tool for stimulating salivary production. This increased saliva will clean our mouths throughout the day. However, the sticky sugars can still stick to our teeth, causing more damage than benefit. Choose sugarless gum to get the best of both worlds!
Consider Dental Sealants
If your dentist has not already discussed them with you, ask at your next dental visit. Dental sealants are a clear, protective coating that goes over your child’s teeth biting surfaces, covering the natural grooves where tooth decay tends to develop. Dental sealants are an excellent protectant against the risk of tooth decay.
Pediatric Dental Hygiene Conclusion
Keeping kids healthy should always be a top priority for parents, including their oral health. The most difficult part for a kid is developing that routine so that it becomes a part of their daily routine. Remember to schedule routine dental visits for examinations and professional cleanings.
Contact Marielaina Perrone DDS at (702) 458-2929 to schedule a no-cost cosmetic consultation appointment if you are ready for a smile makeover. We cannot wait to help you with your smile makeover to create the smile of your dreams in Henderson, Summerlin, and Las Vegas, NV.
Marielaina Perrone, DDS, is a highly experienced and dedicated dental professional passionate about delivering exceptional patient care. With over 20 years of experience in the dental industry, Dr. Perrone is widely regarded as a leading authority in her field, with a reputation for providing innovative solutions and personalized care to her patients.