Good oral hygiene should be #1 on everyone’s list. So once my lil one started sprouting teeth, we got her her very own little tooth brush and gum gel. She of course thought it was the greatest thing ever and thought we gave her a new chew toy. Little did she know we were beginning to instill in her that she’s got to brush her teeth.
Every morning and night we brush to get her into the habit. Now that she pretty much has a mouth full of choppers, she looks for the brushing every day and we of course help her out with it to make sure all her chicklets get the proper care. Thanks to my friends at Miami Children’s Hospital, they have some helpful tips on the importance teaching good oral hygiene to children.
Healthy teeth and gums are an integral part of a child’s overall health. While most parents know the importance of good oral hygiene, many are unsure just how soon they should be concerned about their children’s teeth.
“Proper dental care begins far before a child’s first tooth comes out,” explains Dr. Rosie Roldan, Director of the Pediatric Dentistry Residency Program at Miami Children’s Hospital, whose knowledgeable team of dental specialists is trained to handle a wide range of issues associated with pediatric dental health. “In fact, by the time a baby is born, they have 20 primary teeth almost fully developed in their jaw.”
That’s why it’s important for new parents to be conscious of their child’s oral health right from the start. “A great way to avoid problems early on is to practice good feeding habits,” said Dr. Roldan.
Not putting your baby to sleep with a bottle is a good way of avoiding harmful bacteria from forming around your baby’s teeth and gums. “Sugars from milk and juice that remain on a baby’s teeth for hours can cause a medical condition known as bottle mouth,” said Dr. Roldan. “This can not only cause damage to tooth enamel, but can result in cavities in primary teeth. Children with severe cases of bottle mouth may sometimes have to have their baby teeth pulled until permanent ones come in. “
As a parent, you can help prevent buildup in your baby’s mouth by running a damp washcloth over their gums after their feeding time. Once your child has a few teeth showing, it is recommended to brush them with a special toothbrush designed for small children. Meanwhile, limiting bottle time throughout the day can also be helpful in preventing buildup.
By the time a child is 2 to 3 years old, they should be adopting a regimen of brushing at least twice a day, as well as routinely flossing.
Baby’s First Dental Visit
“It is recommend that children should have their first dental visit by the time they are one year old,” said Dr. Roldan. “Here, the dentist will typically guide you through proper brushing and flossing techniques, as well as check for signs of any potential problems in your child’s teeth and gums.”
As they grow older, routine cleanings, x-rays and fluoride treatments usually become part of your child’s regular dental visits, which should take place every three months to a year.
“The earlier you take your child to the dentist, the earlier you can begin preventing common dental problems, including cavities and gingivitis, as well as other more serious complications,” said Dr. Roldan. “That, along with teaching your child good habits from early on, can ensure they keep a beautiful and healthy smile.”
Getting your child on the right track in the oral hygiene department from the beginning is key and these tips will help you do it. Don’t forget to brush and wipe babies gums twice a day and after they eat. And once they reach 1 years old, get them into the dentist – starting them young will only make that smile brighter!
For more information about child oral hygiene and more, visit www.mch.com.