Every year, we create resolutions aimed at improving health, so this year when setting goals for your family, be sure to take into account dental health as well. Baby teeth are the blueprints for permanent teeth, teaching good oral health habits now will help your child have and maintain a beautiful smile forever. We understand that the holidays can make dental hygiene take the backseat, but we have a few New Year’s resolutions to help get your child’s dental health back on track.
Regular brushing can help your child’s oral and overall health. As soon as teeth appear, tooth decay can occur. Until you are confident and comfortable with your child brushing on his or her own, as a caregiver, it will be your responsibility to care for their teeth. Brush twice a day in short circular strokes over the front and back of each tooth for at least 2 minutes.
For children under the age of three, the amount of toothpaste should be no larger than a grain of rice. Children over three years old should brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
Once your child has two teeth that touch, it is essential to begin flossing. We understand that sometimes, you may neglect to floss because it can become difficult, painful, and frustrating; however, flossing helps to take care of gums and areas where the toothbrush can’t reach. Just as with brushing, children will often need help flossing until they are old enough to do it on their own.
Sometimes caregivers and parents find better success by using pre-threaded flossers over traditional string floss. When flossing, move the floss carefully up and down between the tooth, making a c-shape around the tooth.
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Choose toothbrushes that are the appropriate size and fit comfortably within your child’s hand. Allowing your child to pick out their brush and toothpaste can make brushing a more enjoyable experience and help them to stick with their routine throughout the year.
Consider adding a mouthwash to clean places where your toothbrush and floss might miss. A mouthwash that contains fluoride will help to strengthen enamel, fight off cavities, and provide fresh breath.
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it is time to schedule his or her first dental visit. The first visit is primarily to check on the growth and projected development of your child’s teeth. The pediatric dentist will check for oral health problems such as decay and cavities and also provide you with tips on daily care, teething, thumb sucking, and other factors that contribute to your child’s oral health.
If you worry that your child may be apprehensive towards their appointment, consider making a “get to know you” trip to the dentist before the appointment so your child can become familiar with the office and dentist. Engage your child with positive conversations about the dentist and what they do, avoid using scary words such as “painful” or “hurt.”
These may seem like simple tips to focus on, but in addition to regular visits, they will help your child have a healthier smile. We hope you will resolve to make yourself involved in your child’s dental care routine as we are committed to helping families develop healthy dental habits for life. For more information on how to protect and care for your child’s smile this new year, contact Parks Children’s Dentistry today.