DentalHow to Keep Your Kid’s Teeth Healthy

How to Keep Your Kid’s Teeth Healthy

Parents often have a hard time figuring out the right amount of dental care their kids should be getting. In fact, some of them aren’t entirely sure when dental care should begin. As far as most parents know, cavity prevention is important – but how does one do that, exactly?

In this blog post, we’ll cover important areas of dental care for kids. We’ll also explore helpful ways to keep your kid’s teeth healthy. Keep reading to learn more.

When Should Dental Care Begin?

Most babies start teething at around 6 months. Parents assume this is the best time to begin dental care. But the truth is, dental care should start even before the first tooth erupts.

At the time of birth, a baby already has 20 hidden primary teeth. In fact, teeth forms during the second trimester of pregnancy. It’s important to take care of these teeth even if they’re still hidden. Here’s how:

  • Run a clean and damp washcloth over your baby’s gums even before they start teething. This will help clear away harmful bacteria.
  • When teething starts, use a soft infant toothbrush to brush their teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a “smear” of fluoride toothpaste for children below 2 years and a pea-sized amount for kids from 2-6 years.
  • Start flossing when two of your baby’s teeth touch each other.

When Should a Child Start Seeing a Dentist?

According to the ADA, a child should see a dentist by their first birthday. This is approximately 6 months after their first tooth erupts. 

During this first visit, the dentist will conduct a modified dental exam where your baby can just sit on your lap. Aside from proper flossing and brushing techniques, the dentist will be able to provide you with information about:

  • Baby bottle tooth decay
  • Finger-sucking habits
  • Mouth cleaning
  • Pacifier habits
  • Teething

What are the Signs of Tooth Decay in Children?

Tooth decay happens because of enamel breakdown. The enamel is the protective covering of the tooth. 

Tooth decay is caused by the accumulation of bacteria on the tooth’s surface. If left untreated, these can harden into plaque and turn into cavities.

The following will increase your child’s risk for tooth decay:

  • A diet high in starches and sugars
  • Absence or the lack of fluoride in the water supply
  • Less saliva production
  • Poor oral hygiene

Without a closer look, the signs of early tooth decay are often unnoticed by parents. This is why regular dental checkups are important. 

Early tooth decay can be identified by the appearance of white spots. These spots cannot be removed during brushing. This is a sign that the enamel is starting to break down. The white spots will eventually progress into brown spots.

Advanced tooth decay, on the other hand, is more noticeable. This is often seen as a broken tooth with blackened holes. 

Symptoms of tooth decay may include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Toothache

Ways to Keep Your Kid’s Teeth Healthy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided helpful ways for parents and caregivers on how to keep children’s teeth healthy. Here are additional tips according to age group.

For Babies (0-1 Years)

  • Wipe baby’s gums after every feeding
  • Avoid bottles during bedtime
  • Brush baby’s teeth with a soft child-sized toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks
  • Schedule your baby’s dental checkup by their first birthday

For Toddlers (1-2 Years)

  • Limit sugary foods and drinks
  • Brush your toddler’s teeth twice a day using a smear of fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Schedule regular dental checkups

For Young Children (3 Years and Above)

  • Limit sugary foods and drinks
  • Teach your child the right toothbrushing habits
  • Brush teeth twice every day using a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss
  • Schedule regular checkups with a dentist

Final Thoughts

As parents, it’s important to build the foundation for good oral and dental habits. The goal for healthy teeth goes beyond childhood. Jumpstart healthy habits as early as possible by being good role models to your children.

Moreover, finding a great dentist is important in making sure that your kid’s teeth remain strong and healthy for many years.

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