Published on November 27, 2017, Updated on December 4, 2017
Good oral hygiene is something that children learn. Taking preventative dentistry steps while they are young can help save both your children and you time from having to have restorative care and procedures in the future. The American Dental Association has guidelines for healthy teeth when it comes to brushing, flossing, and keeping the mouth clean. Do you know what those guidelines are for you? Do you know what the ADA suggests for a child? Your child’s baby teeth will eventually fall out, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be cared for. Children keep their teeth for many years and establish the best habits when young. Find out how children should be taking care of their teeth and what you can do to establish good oral hygiene for your children!
Babies are not born with teeth in their mouth already. The process of getting their teeth can be long and lengthy. Most babies will get their first tooth between 4 and 7 months old. However, some babies can get a tooth as early as 3 months old or it can take a year or more. By age 3, your child should have all 20 of their baby teeth. The front teeth on bottom come in first, then on top, and so on from front to back until they have all their teeth.
Once a baby tooth erupts, you must clean the tooth (or teeth) for them. You can do this with a gum brush for babies. You should also use a wet cloth to clean the baby’s gums after eating or drinking, as tooth decay can happen as soon as there is a tooth. Use toothpaste to clean the gums—about the size of a grain of rice should do. Your baby should see a pediatric dentist no later than 6 months after the first tooth has erupted in the mouth. This will ensure that we can inform you about your child’s mouth, how to take care of baby teeth, and how you can avoid tooth decay.
The biggest part of achieving and maintaining healthy teeth involves your commitment to healthy practices and proper oral hygiene. Oral hygiene for children is very similar to the recommendations we have for adults. The American Dental Association recommends that children (and adults alike) brush their teeth at least twice a day. You will have to brush your child’s teeth for the early years until they are able to brush their teeth correctly. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and brush their teeth with a child’s brush. A child’s brush is meant to fit the size of a child’s mouth until they grow old enough for an adult toothbrush.
You can establish good oral hygiene through teaching children how to make good food choices. Eating patterns and food choices play an important role in preventing, or promoting tooth decay. Heavy sugar consumption should be avoided as it correlates directly to more cavities. Limiting sugar intake will not only help your child’s teeth, but will keep them healthier as well. Investing in dental sealants can also help them avoid tooth decay. A dental sealant is a plastic coating that is painted over the grooves of the molar teeth. It seals away all the hard-to-reach areas and pits where cavities can form easily, reducing your child’s chance of cavities. However, the best things a child can do is brush and floss often to avoid tooth decay.
Losing baby teeth is an inevitability every child will have to face at some point. There is no exact time when your child will lose his or her teeth, but there are general timelines to be aware about. Just as a baby gets their teeth sometime between 6 months and 3 years, a child will lose their teeth across a similar span of time. However, children will have their baby teeth for several years, so they must be taken care of. Tooth decay happens very quickly in baby teeth, so be as vigilant as possible with brushing and flossing their teeth several times a day or helping them do it.
Having teeth is a wonderful blessing that will help you and your children all throughout life. Without teeth, eating and chewing would become very difficult. Your speech would seriously be affected and it would be difficult to be successful. Your oral health is an indication of your overall health and wellness. If oral health suffers (even in children), then overall health can suffer as well. We know the importance of taking care of baby teeth and adult teeth, which is why we dedicate our time and expertise on helping your child’s mouth stay healthy,
The oral hygiene habits your child learns early-on will carry on throughout the years. We want those habits to be correct and something a child constantly is aware of. Children sometimes have a hard time remembering to brush and floss their teeth. Help them establish a morning and bedtime routine (at least) for brushing and flossing their teeth. After eating sugary foods or after meals, help remind them to brush their teeth and monitor their brushing to ensure it is adequate. With your guidance, your child can have healthy teeth for life.
For some children, losing baby teeth can be scary, uncomfortable and unwelcome. For other children, losing teeth is exciting! Whether your baby is starting to get teeth, your child is getting ready to lose theirs, or if you have questions about your own oral hygiene or health, you can always call us. Our goal is to keep your child’s mouth healthy and their smile bright. To learn more about your child’s teeth and their oral hygiene needs, call Hardy Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics today at (720) 887-6003!