While a child’s teeth will eventually fall out to make room for their permanent teeth, that does not necessarily mean we don’t need to take good care of them. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Healthy baby teeth are essential for your child’s speech development and chewing mechanisms, as well as making a good path for their adult teeth. By following these eight easy tips, you can ensure that you’re taking good care of your child’s teeth.
1. Brush their teeth daily.
Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, you can brush your baby’s teeth once a day right before they go to sleep. Luckily, there are many options for infant toothbrushes on the market for you to choose from!
2. Schedule their first dentist appointment.
Once your child’s first tooth erupts from their gums, it is typically time to start thinking about their first dentist appointment. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling sometime after their first tooth, but no later than their first birthday.
3. Watch their pacifier and thumb-sucking habits.
Using a pacifier or sucking their thumb is completely natural to your baby’s self-soothing process. However, if used for an extended period of time, it could potentially impact their speech or teeth alignment. If your child continues with this habit beyond the age of three, we recommend speaking with your dentist about the issue. Otherwise, children typically give up the pacifier over time.
4. Remove the bottle from the crib.
Extended exposure to fluids other than water can increase the possibility of tooth decay. We recommend that you avoid keeping milk or formula in the crib, though water is just fine.
5. Introduce fluoride-free toothpaste.
Once the first tooth has emerged, we recommend that you begin to introduce toothpaste into their oral healthcare regimen as soon as possible. There are toothpastes that are made without fluoride specifically for infants. This will help you to prevent any early tooth decay and keep them in good condition.
6. Start good habits early.
As your child grows, it is important to introduce good oral hygiene habits as soon as they’re able. This means brushing, mouthwash rinses, and flossing every day.
7. Watch their sugar intake.
As the old saying goes, sugar really does “rot your teeth.” Try to avoid too many foods that are high in sugar so as to avoid tooth decay. And with a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, you can also ensure their teeth, gums, and mouth will be healthy.
8. Prep them for visits to the dentist.
As your child grows more aware of their surroundings, it is always a good idea to keep them excited about keeping their mouth healthy! In order to ensure that their future dentist appointments are easy and stress-free, we recommend communicating with your child about the dentist early and often! Try playing pretend with them and do a “cleaning” for you or their stuffed animals. You can also buy one of the many dentist-related children’s books on the market that make taking care of your teeth feel like an adventure!
If you’d like to schedule your child’s dentist appointment, or you have any questions about what to expect during the appointment, call Manus Dental today!