Proper dental hygiene prevents cavities and other dental problems. While it seems logical to wait until your child has a mouth full of teeth to really worry about dental hygiene, starting before the teeth emerge sets your child up for the healthiest mouth possible. An early start on tooth care also gets your child in the habit, possibly making the task easier as she gets older.
A soft, child-size toothbrush works best for cleaning your child’s teeth once they emerge. The smaller toothbrush head fits better into the child’s mouth making it easier to reach all of the tooth surfaces. For younger children, choose a fluoride-free toothpaste, sometimes called training toothpaste. Once your child learns not to swallow the toothpaste you can switch to a brand that contains fluoride.
For babies whose teeth haven’t emerged, parents should wipe the gums with a clean, soft cloth dampened with water. This keeps the area clean. Once teeth emerge, brush them twice a day with a damp toothbrush. By around age two, you can add a dab of the fluoride-free toothpaste to the toothbrush. Brush your child’s teeth for him when he is young. Give him a chance to practice brushing his own teeth after you are done. This ensures that you get the teeth clean while also improving your child’s brushing skills so he can do it himself when he reaches school age.
A child’s diet affects dental health. Eating snacks and drinking beverages full of sugar increases the risk of cavities, especially if your child is already prone to them. Juice and candy are often culprits in a child’s diet. Occasional treats are fine, but try to limit your child’s exposure to these foods. Brushing your child’s teeth after she eats sweets can also help. A balanced diet helps your child stay healthy overall, including her teeth.
Early dental visits allow the dentist to identify any potential problems early. Schedule your child’s first dental when he is about 1 year old. Starting early also gets your child used to the dentist, allowing him to build a relationship with the dentist. A family dentist is able to care for children. Pediatric dentists are also an option. These dentists take extra schooling to learn techniques specifically for child dental care.
Cavities are the primary problem for many kids. Premature babies, kids with other health problems and those who don’t visit the dentist regularly have a higher chance of cavities. Tooth decay and gum disease are also potential dental problems for children.