Ways to Help Protect Your Child’s Teeth
One of your biggest goals as a parent is probably to keep your kids healthy. When it comes to dental health, however, it can be difficult to know how much care is needed. Here are a few child dental care tips to help protect your child’s teeth.
Start Teeth Cleaning Early
You should start cleaning your baby’s mouth even before the first tooth comes in. This helps ensure the developing teeth have a clean, healthy environment to grow into.
Before your baby starts teething, clean their mouth by running a damp washcloth gently over the gums. Once the first tooth comes in, you can start cleaning with an infant toothbrush. If you use toothpaste, ensure it does not contain fluoride and clean the teeth with an amount around the size of a grain of rice — alternately, you may use water instead of toothpaste until you check with a dentist. You can begin flossing your child’s teeth once they touch.
Teach Kids How to Brush and Floss Properly
Once your child reaches age three, you can start teaching them how to brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Help them brush every tooth surface using gentle circles, focusing on where the teeth meet the gums. Kids should brush their own teeth in the morning and night by age eight. Parents should supervise and assist children under eight while brushing to ensure they clean their teeth thoroughly and prevent them from swallowing toothpaste.
You can also teach your child to floss at the same time they learn to brush. If your child finds flossing difficult, a plastic flossing tool could make the job easier.
Limit Sugary Drinks
Putting a child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice can lead to tooth decay. This is because sugar can remain on the teeth all night and provide food for enamel-damaging bacteria. For healthy teeth, have your child rinse their mouth after having milk, fruit juice or sweetened liquid medicine and avoid giving them a bottle at bedtime.
Give Them Enough Fluoride
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that can strengthen children’s teeth, prevent cavities and even repair tooth decay. Community drinking water often contains fluoride. However, if you use filtered water, your child may need more fluoride. Though some kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride, this isn’t usually enough to strengthen teeth independently. ***Be sure to check with your dentist at what age your child should start using a fluoridated toothpaste***
If your family isn’t getting enough fluoride, your dentist may recommend a fluoride supplement. However, you shouldn’t increase your child’s fluoride intake without talking to a dentist first. Too much fluoride can result in dental fluorosis, which affects the appearance of developing teeth.
Take Your Child to the Dentist
The Canadian Dental Association recommends parents bring their kids to the dentist within six months of the first tooth appearing or by one year. After the first appointment, you should take your child to the dentist regularly. A dentist can make sure your at-home dental care is effective, check for cavities and ensure teeth are developing as expected.
Taking your child to the dentist is an important part of establishing healthy, lifelong dental care habits. If you’re looking for a dentist in Calgary or Edmonton, we hope you’ll consider Dental Choice. We strive to provide compassionate care for all our patients, including kids. To request an appointment or learn more about our practice, reach out to us today.