Dental hygiene for your child begins at day one. Although teeth might not be visible to the eye, they are hidden under the gums waiting to sprout up as they grow. Therefore, it is important to maintain your child’s oral health, from the start of their first baby teeth till they are able and responsible to care for their own teeth. There are steps you can take to ensure that your child has a bright and healthy smile, reducing their chance for future cavities and gum disease.
1. Before your child has teeth growing in, it is beneficial to gently wipe down the gums with a clean washcloth. This helps keep the area clean, healthy, and stimulated, aiding in the growth of their teeth. In addition, managing bottle feeding can directly impact the health of your child’s teeth. Bottles should be removed from the child’s mouth once they are finished with their drinking and not be placed into the crib with them when they go to sleep.
2. At about six months old, their first set of teeth begin to breach the gums. These are called the primary or baby teeth. At this stage, it is important to brush teeth gently with a soft bristled toothbrush and water at least twice daily. They should make their first visit to a dentist before their first birthday.
3. At around age three, all the teeth have grown in, creating the start to their first set ready for smiling! A small amount of toothpaste with fluoride can be introduced into their routine, typically with a flavor enjoyed by small children, such as bubblegum or berry. It is important that the child spits out the toothpaste, so that they do not ingest the fluoride as this can be harmful to their health. Regular dental appointments should be made, monitoring the growth of your child’s teeth.
4. As soon as teeth begin to touch, assist your child in flossing their teeth so that they can get the areas of their teeth that the toothbrush cannot reach. This will reduce the incidence of plaque, gum disease, and cavities that can develop over time.
5. At age six, teeth will begin to fall out. This is a new and exciting time for your child, as their permanent or adult teeth have finally begun to grow in! Make sure that brushing at least twice daily and flossing once daily is still included in their dental routine. Assist your child in reaching their molars, which are harder to reach as the mouth and teeth grow.
6. Once your child is about 13 years old, all of their permanent teeth have grown in. It is vital to maintain their health, as they are the set they have for life! Your child should be visiting the dentist every six months, brushing and flossing consistently, and be made aware of the importance of dental hygiene. At this point, there may be braces in the near future!
Make sure to help your growing child maintain their dental health, setting an example for many more years to come. This will ensure that your child has a bright, white, and healthy smile! If you have any questions or want to make an appointment for your child, please call (202) 733-6557, or e-mail our office and we’d be happy to assist you.