It’s never too early to start teaching your child about oral hygiene. Developing basic skills like proper brushing and flossing techniques is one of the easiest ways to ensure they have a healthy smile throughout their lives. Other practices like sugar avoidance and routine dental exams also can preserve your child’s pearly whites while helping them build the foundations of a healthy lifestyle. When it comes to forming healthy tooth care habits for your children, here are some professional tips from the experts at Now Dental.
Your child’s first tooth usually appears around 6 months of age. Even infants are susceptible to tooth decay, specifically a condition called baby bottle tooth decay. It’s caused by overuse of bottles or pacifiers as well as the consumption of sugary drinks. Developing habits for a healthy smile should start as soon as the first tooth appears. Gently brush your baby’s teeth twice a day—once in the morning and once before bed—with a pea-sized drop of toothpaste on a gentle toothbrush. Try to make the experience fun by making them laugh and brushing their teeth between giggles. Help them learn proper brushing techniques by letting them brush your teeth when they’re older. Children learn best by mimicking the actions of others, especially when you can turn it into a game.
Developing good eating habits at an early age is another way to protect your child’s smile. Cavities are the result of poor brushing techniques and consuming sugary foods and drinks. As a general rule, sugary drinks like soda and juice should be avoided in the first year. Candy and ice cream are nice on special occasions but make sure your child brushes their teeth immediately after their sweet treat. As they transition from formula and baby food to solids, encourage them to eat foods that are high in calcium and potassium like cheese, nuts, milk, and chicken. Firm fruits like apples and pears are also good because they help remove food building between the teeth while giving your child a naturally sweet treat.
Even though baby teeth are temporary, you should still schedule your first visit to the dentist as soon as they appear. Early exposure to the dentist is key to helping your child become accustomed to routine dental procedures. Some children develop a fear of the dentist because of a bad experience at the office or they pick up on their parent’s aversion to dental work. If you have a fear of the dentist, try not to let it show or ask another family member the child is familiar with to take them. Most dentists recommend morning appointments for small children because that’s when they’re rested and generally more cooperative. Some dentists are specially trained to handle small children and will use a variety of techniques to help them stay calm during their checkup.
The professionals at Now Dental specialize in pediatric dentistry as well as family and cosmetic dentistry. They treat all patients, both young and old, with a stellar reputation for high-quality services in Northern California. At Now Dental, Dr. Elizabeth Huynh and her staff strive to provide a thorough and comfortable dental experience for you and your family. When it’s time to celebrate your child’s first tooth, schedule their first visit at Now Dental and have peace of mind concerning your child’s future smile. To learn more about our practice, visit us online at http://www.nowdentalonline.com, then call (916) 966-2009 to schedule an appointment.