How to care for your child’s dental hygiene

 

Oral hygiene is an important part of your child’s overall health. Poor hygiene practices can lead to infection, disease or other oral complications. This is why it is important to care for your child’s dental hygiene at an early age in order to set a lifetime of good dental habits.

Helpful Tips

 

Dental hygiene doesn’t have to feel like a task if you try to make it fun with these helpful tips:

  • Let your child choose their own toothbrush! This lets them pick one that has their favorite color or character.
  • Reward your child for their good oral care with something they enjoy. Avoid offering any foods or sugary treats. Instead, offer rewards that allow them to play more or watch their favorite movie.
  • Make it a family activity! Children are more likely to practice good oral health if they see their parents doing it also.
  • Play their favorite song during brush time! This helps keep track of time and keeps them engaged.
  • Read fun books about oral hygiene or find videos online that are fun and interactive!

Oral Hygiene for Infants

 

Babies are born with all of their teeth but you aren’t able to see them because they are hidden in the gums. Generally, the first primary tooth erupts around 6 months of age. However, it is important to care for your infants oral care before the first tooth erupts. Dental decay in baby teeth can negatively affect permanent teeth and lead to future dental problems. 

How to prevent tooth decay in Infants

  • Wipe gums twice a day with a soft, clean cloth in the morning after the first feeding and right before bed. This ensures that you wipe away bacteria and sugars that can cause tooth decay.
  • When teeth come in, start brushing twice a day with a soft, small‑bristled toothbrush and plain water.
  • The CDC recommends you schedule a visit with a dentist by your baby’s first birthday to spot signs of problems early. 
  • You should also talk to your dentist about putting fluoride varnish on your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.
  • Diet is very important. Limit the amount of sticky or sugary foods your child eats or drinks, such as, gummies, crackers, cookies or soda.
  • Only serve juice during meals or not at all. The AAP does not recommend juice for babies younger than 6 months.

 

Oral Hygiene for Children

As kids get older, their oral hygiene habits grow with them. All of their baby teeth, which are called primary teeth, should be visible by age 3. Those baby teeth should then start to fall out around age 6. This is when their permanent teeth, or adult teeth, start to come in. It is recommended that you schedule an orthodontist visit for your child once they turn 7 years old. This helps fast-track any possible orthodontic treatment they may require. 

Establishing a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

  • Make sure your child brushes for 2 minutes twice a day 
  • Drink tap water that contains fluoride.
  • Make sure they use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and always spit it out rather than swallow.
  • Offer to help your child with flossing and take advantage of flossing tools. Floss holders can be a great tool because they can be colorful and easy to use! 
  • Continue to offer rewards for good oral hygiene
  • Ask your child’s dentist to apply dental sealants when appropriate.
  • Keep up-to-date with dental visits

 

Oral Hygiene for Preteens

Your child should have all of their permanent teeth in by age 13. At this point, a rigorous daily hygiene routine is crucial to their health. It can be hard to keep them interested in their oral care which is why giving helpful reminders can be important. 

Tips to Maintain a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

  • Remind your child that they should be brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes
  • Remind them that good oral hygiene can help fight off cavities and bad breath while also strengthening their teeth.
  • Take advantage of dental tools like electric toothbrushes. These can make brushing easier and more fun for preteens.
  • Flossing is extremely important at this point as most permanent teeth have erupted and cleaning between them will help prevent cavities.
  • If your child wears braces, oral hygiene is extremely crucial. WaterPik Flossers can be very helpful, especially for those that don’t like to floss between brackets. It can also help prevent spots on teeth after the braces are removed.
  • If your child plays sports, then you should encourage them to wear a mouth guard in order to protect their teeth from injuries

Lead By Example

Oral hygiene is an important part of your child’s overall health. However, it is important for you to take care of your teeth as well. Lead by example and show them that dental hygiene doesn’t have to be a chore. Instead, it can be a fun activity for you and your child.

 

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