Great dental health starts early. Whether your kids already love the dentist or have yet to come in for their first visit, you can promote lifelong oral hygiene by helping them create a strong home dental routine.
As soon as your child’s teeth become visible, it’s time to start brushing. For most children, that’s around six months old. At this age, parents can use a damp washcloth and wipe the teeth clean every morning and night or after feeding. Parents should continue brushing their children’s teeth until they can use a toothbrush.
As soon as your kids are old enough to brush on their own, begin teaching them how to use a toothbrush. As you transition your child into a tooth brushing routine, it may also be helpful to find a fun storybook or video to explain the importance of brushing your teeth.
Once your children understand the “why” behind the routine, they may be more motivated to stick with it. Of course, parent supervision is always a good idea as your child learns.
Kids’ toothbrushes come in all shapes and sizes. Look for one that has soft bristles and is specially fitted to kid-sized mouths. It may also be a good idea to find one with a special color or character your child likes to make brushing a little more fun. You might even try using a toothbrush that plays a two-minute song so that your kids know how long to brush.
While too much fluoride can be dangerous if swallowed, most dentists recommend children do ingest fluoride through fluoridated water. Ingested fluoride is integrated into the developing teeth which will help reduce the risk of cavities in the future. City water typically contains fluoride, but if your home is on well water, you might want to consider buying fluoridated water for your kids to drink at home.
With parent supervision, fluoridated toothpaste is also appropriate for young children. For children under three, just spread a small amount of fluoride toothpaste, the size of a grain of rice, on your child’s toothbrush.
Swallowing a small amount of toothpaste is okay, but remind your child to spit in the sink instead. As your children become comfortable with brushing their teeth, they may use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste instead.
Most dentists recommend that children begin flossing as soon as their teeth begin touching. Typically baby teeth are spread far apart when they first surface. Gradually, as a child grows, the teeth grow bigger and closer together. As they do, plaque and bacteria can begin to build up in the crevices. As with brushing, it’s important for your child to understand why flossing is so important. While brushing removes plaque from the outside of the teeth, floss acts like a little toothbrush to scrub the sides of the teeth that touch. By removing plaque between the teeth, you’ll lower the risk of cavities and prevent bad breath.
Flossing should become a regular part of your child’s morning and evening dental routine. Often, children need a little extra help from mom or dad to floss correctly. Flossers may also make it easier for children to begin flossing on their own.
Just like adults, kids need regular dental visits to maintain good oral hygiene. Experts recommend that children make their first trip to the dentist by the time they are one year old. Usually, most kids already have one or several visible teeth by this age. Visiting the dentist early also can help to form a positive association with the dentist and prevent fear down the road. If you’re planning your child’s first visit to the dentist, couple it with something fun—like a trip to the park or a special toy. This will help to ensure your kids will look forward to their dental visits as they grow.
At Norge Dental Center, we’re sensitive to the needs of our youngest patients and go out of our way to make sure you and your children always feel welcome in our space. We offer “Happy Visits” for children who visit our office for the first time.
We love to introduce kids to our little friend Douglas, the tooth fairy’s favorite pet monster. He helps children learn how to take care of their teeth. You can read more about Douglas and download our special tooth fairy kit on our site. Of course, food also has an impact on your child’s dental health. Sugar feeds the acid that can break down the teeth and cause cavities. Watch out for sugary foods and opt instead for healthy snacks like fruits and veggies.
Want to learn more about our pediatric dentistry services in Williamsburg? Visit our website for more information about how Norge Dental Center creates a positive, fun environment for kids. You can also download your free tooth fairy kit here for free.
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Whether you’re new to the area, or new to the Norge Dental family… we welcome you to a new dental experience.call (757) 564-0804