Proper care for teeth starts the moment a baby’s first tooth begins to come in. In this blog post, Dr. Amy Farmer shares some tips to help get your child started on the right track towards a healthy mouth.
Start Brushing at a Young Age
The American Dental Association recommends cleaning your baby’s gums after every feeding using a soft washcloth or wet gauze wrapped around your finger. As teeth start to grow, use a child’s size toothbrush with water. For children ages 3 to 6, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth thoroughly for at least two minutes, two times a day.
Once your child is old enough to brush their own teeth, you should still supervise to ensure they brush thoroughly and avoid swallowing toothpaste. As motivation, have your child pick out a toothpaste flavor they like — so long as its fluoride toothpaste.
Floss Early On
According to the ADA, you should floss your child’s teeth the moment two of their teeth touch. Being lax on flossing increases the risk of plaque buildup and tooth decay. The best way to ensure your child flosses regularly is by having them start early on. It may also help to lead by example; your child is more likely to stick to good habits such as flossing if they see you practicing them too. Like toothpaste, floss comes in different flavors such as cinnamon and mint. Have your child pick out their favorite flavor.
Establish Healthy Eating Habits
Have your child practice healthy eating habits at a young age. Too much sugar can lead to cavities while acidic foods can wear away tooth enamel, eventually causing tooth decay. Frequent snacking can also be detrimental to teeth. Limit your child’s snacking and have them drink plenty of water in between snacks and meals to wash away food debris.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
The ADA recommends children see a dentist by their first birthday. Both children and adults should visit the dentist twice a year for routine cleaning and exams. If you think your child has dental problems, take him or her to the dentist’s office as soon as possible. During your child’s dental visit, your dentist may suggest fluoride treatments to strengthen teeth; or a dental sealant, a protective plastic coating that can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay often starts.
Children Dentistry with Dr. Farmer
As one of Longmont’s most trusted dentists, Dr. Farmer understands that getting your child to see the dentist may be challenging. For children up to age 3 or 4, we offer “happy visits,” during which we have our young patients play with the suction and sit in the dental chair to help them get as comfortable as possible. We also do our best to educate them on the importance of dental hygiene and explain dental treatments using kid-friendly terms and resources. Our goal at Dr. Farmer’s dental practice is to make sure your and your child’s visit with us is a pleasant one.
To schedule a comprehensive dental exam for you or for your child, please call (303) 776-1480 today.