Perhaps you have a newborn at home. Possibly your child just lost their first tooth. Or maybe your baseball-loving child had a tooth knocked out while sliding into home. Child dental care may not be something you ponder between visits to the dentist, or outside of emergency situations. Until your kids grow up and leave the nest, you have an important role to play in their ongoing dental healthcare routine. Rest assured, Dr. Parisa Parizadeh and Dr. Michael Hsu and Columbia Smiles have you covered with some handy child dental care tips.
When to Begin Child Dental Hygiene
It is important to consider your baby’s dental hygiene before they even start cutting their teeth. But if they do, and you’re thinking about what to do, where to take them, and how soon they should be seen by a dentist, you’re not alone. For starters, children should typically begin seeing a dentist at the one year mark.
It may sound strange to bring a baby to the dentist before they have all their teeth. But preventive care is best when it is started early. Those first visits will focus on identifying any potential problems to monitor and to develop an action-plan to protect their teeth in the years before they are able to brush and floss for themselves.
Preventing Cavities in Your Kids’ Teeth
Perhaps the most recommended child dental care tips center on how to prevent cavities. Cavities are the result of lingering bacteria or food on the teeth that are allowed to eat away at the teeth. This weakens them over time until a hole, called a cavity, forms. Avoiding cavities are possible. Follow these three child dental hygiene tips to give your kids the best chance at avoiding cavities.
1. Create Positive Oral Habits
Establishing good oral health habits with your kids early is vital to their long-term oral health. Set a good example by brushing and flossing regularly and helping your kids do the same in their first years. Also, ensure your kids visit the dentist every six months. Regular dental visits are an important part of routine oral healthcare. They involve extensive teeth cleaning that goes beyond what brushing and flossing can accomplish on their own.
2. Use Fluoridated Toothpaste
Most cities add fluoride to their water supplies to contribute to the oral health of their communities. In places that don’t, you may need to supplement with other sources of fluoride. The easiest way is by using fluoridated toothpaste. That may not be enough on its own, so it’s worth asking your dentist if they think a fluoride supplement may be worthwhile for your children.
3. Limit Certain Foods
Your mind is likely already jumping to which foods you should limit. You’re probably not wrong. As much as kids, and even some adults, love sweet and sugary foods, they are not good for maintaining good teeth and avoiding cavities. One key in child dental care is to limit foods and drinks that are high in sugar. Sugary foods erode the enamel coating of teeth and cause cavities.
It is unrealistic to avoid all sugar intake. One handy child dental care tip is to have your child rinse with mouthwash or brush their teeth soon after eating sugary foods like gummy bears or other candies. This will make sure those foods don’t stay behind in their teeth to eat away at the enamel.
More Child Dental Hygiene Tips for Parents
Oral healthcare doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming for parents of young children. It’s important to focus on helping your kids avoid cavities for the health of their teeth and the health of your wallet. However, there’s much more that goes into establishing proper oral hygiene with your kids than just helping them avoid tooth decay. It’s really about empowering them to take ownership of their own health. Dental care just happens to be one piece of their healthcare that they can control starting from a young age. Here are a few more child dental hygiene tips to consider:
- Create a family routine, such as having the whole family brush together before bed
- Turn oral hygiene into a game for young kids and have them imitate your brushing habits
- Don’t do everything for your kid; guide them toward being able to brush and floss on their own
- Discuss healthy eating with your kids and model that behavior
Columbia Smiles is here to help you with all your child’s dental care needs. Reach out to our team, led by Dr. Parisa Parizadeh and Dr. Michael Hsu, at 410.690.4855 to learn more about child dental hygiene and how you can set your kids’ smiles up for success now and in the future.