If you want the best for your children during the early years of their lives you’ll need to instil good oral health habits from the start. Many dental problems that children experience as they get older can be avoided by showing your child how to brush their teeth early and taking them to the dentist regularly.
As a new parent, you may be wanting answers to questions such as
“When should you start brushing your child’s teeth?”
“At what age should they start seeing the dentist?”
“How important is it to care for your child’s first set of teeth, given the fact that they will ultimately be replaced by their permanent teeth?”
Your child’s milk teeth are important, and you should start thinking about caring for them from the very start of their life.
In this guide, we’ll discuss what you can do to ensure your child’s teeth are as well looked-after and as healthy as possible.
Brushing Your Child’s First Teeth
Oral care should start from the very first day of your baby’s life. After feeding, get into the habit of gently wiping your child’s gums to prevent bacteria from building up.
From around six months of age, a child’s milk teeth will start to appear. This occurs through a process called teething and can cause some discomfort for your baby. It may take another two years for the full set of teeth to emerge; however, it’s important to start cleaning them from the moment the first tooth breaks through.
Tooth decay doesn’t wait until your child is older, it can be a problem from day one. Start brushing your child’s teeth immediately using a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste. Carry on cleaning their teeth twice a day until they are old enough to do it for themselves. Early brushing gets your child used to the sensation and into the routine.
As your child gets old enough to brush for themselves, make sure you supervise them. It can also be beneficial for you to brush your teeth in front of your child too.
Getting Your Child’s Diet Right
Let’s face it, most kids love sweet treats. Whether it’s ice cream, sweets, or a soft drink, it’s probably fair to say that your child won’t be able to get enough. Many drinks aimed at young children have very high sugar levels.
When choosing what your child eats and drinks, take a look at the sugar content. Wherever possible, try and provide a less sugary option for your child.
When Should You Take Your Child to the Dentist for the First Time?
There are some very good reasons to start bringing your child to see us as early as possible. Firstly, it gets them used to seeing us. We want your child to feel comfortable when they visit the dentist, and we want to make sure that they keep coming back for the rest of their lives.
Secondly, regular visits from the moment your child starts to develop their first tooth will help us spot the warning signs of tooth decay early and put steps in place to nip it in the bud. Checkups from around the age of six months will also give us a chance to see how your baby’s teeth are developing.
It’s important to make the experience of visiting the dentist positive. Always use up-beat language and avoid scary words. You may be inclined to try and offer a treat to incentivise your child; this can make them believe that the experience will be a negative one.
Your child may tell you that they don’t want to go, and it’s easy to get frustrated. Try your best to stay positive and avoid making them feel pressured or upset about coming to see us.
What Else Should You Consider?
Did you know that many of the problems that adults experience with the alignment of their teeth and their bites stem from habits developed early in childhood?
Thumb sucking, particularly as a child reaches school age, can lead to later dental concerns. Although it can be useful for self-soothing, most children will stop on their own; however, if the habit progresses, gentle intervention and support from your dentist may help.
Helping Your Children Smile More
At SmileMore, we’re here to care for your child’s dental needs. Whether you’re getting ready to bring them in for their first appointment, want to book them in for a regular checkup, or are concerned with any discomfort they’re experiencing, get in touch today.