Instilling proper oral health habits early in your child’s life is the key to preventing tooth decay and gingivitis. Good dental hygiene routines should be started as early as your child’s first teeth erupt and continued throughout life.
When your baby’s teeth erupt, you should brush them very gently with a soft cloth or infant toothbrush after each feeding.
Do not give your baby a bottle when putting him or her down to bed, unless it is plain water. The milk will pool in your baby’s mouth and remain there while he or she sleeps, and can cause rampant tooth decay.
As early as two or three, all of the baby teeth should be present. This is a good time to start regular dental checkups, if you haven’t done so already. A good way to prepare them is to take them with you as you visit the dentist. Then, when it is their turn, they will have some understanding of what to expect. This is an advantage of going to a family dental office like Peck Family Dentistry where they see patients of all ages.
Be careful not to over-prepare them for the dentist. They will sense your anxiety and may become afraid themselves. Treat it as a routine visit that will actually probably be fun for them, as this is what we try to do. Never say the word hurt or pain because this may give them the thought of it possibly hurting.
Between the ages of two and three you can start teaching your children how to brush. Have them watch you brush because children learn by example. Children are not very capable of brushing well so it is recommended that parents help their children brush and floss until the age of about six or seven, depending on the dexterity of your child.
Usually between the ages of six and seven your child’s first permanent molars erupt. Ask your dentist about sealant applications which protect the chewing surfaces of these important teeth from decay.