Treating children at a very young age and getting them accustomed to seeing a dentist is critical to their long-term oral health. Midtown Dental in Sacramento loves seeing children of all ages and offers great solutions to your pediatric density needs.
Teaching Children Dental Hygiene
Your child’s proper dental hygiene really begins in infancy. Because tooth decay in small children can advance rapidly, it is very important that they are given proper dental care from the very beginning. Most people do not realize that the most common chronic childhood disease is tooth decay! Tooth decay leads to infected or abscessed teeth, causing severe pain and lost sleep, missed school, and costly visits to the emergency room.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has set the standard by asking all parents to establish a dental “home” for their child(ren) by no later than 12 months of age. By starting dental visits early, children get used to coming to the dentist, and avoiding any cavities from becoming too far decayed. It allows the parent to partner with the dental team in learning essential principles of proper diet and oral hygiene for their child.
Infant Dental Care
We recommend that you wipe your child’s mouth with a damp cloth before you put him or her to bed. Milk, juice or any other sweetened liquid will leave a residue on the child’s gums, resulting in early tooth decay. Avoid putting your child to bed with a sippee cup or bottle. When babies fall asleep with a bottle or sippy cup, the sleeping baby can not clear the liquid from their mouths. The sugars in the formula, milk, or juice are left in contact with the baby’s teeth for a long period of time during the night or naptime; this can cause rapid tooth decay.
Tips and Suggestions for healthy baby teeth:
- Use a damp, soft cloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your baby’s teeth at least twice a day
- Never put your baby to bed with a bottle filled with milk or juice
- When your child is asleep, stop nursing and clean teeth with a damp washcloth
- Read, sing, or rock your child to sleep in place of continuous feeding
- Don’t let your child use a sippy cup or bottle as a pacifier
- Teach your child to use a cup at an early age. Plan to stop using a bottle by the time your child is twelve to fourteen months old
- Do not dip your child’s pacifier in sugar or honey
- Consult with your Dentist about age-appropriate fluoride amounts and supplement usage
Pediatric Dental Care
From the time your child starts teething, teach them to brush their teeth twice a day. This will help instill good habits in your child’s daily routine. Use a toothbrush with soft-bristles. You can start with only water or toothpaste that does not contain any fluoride, and you can use fluoride when the child is old enough to spit. We recommend that you consult with your dentist to determine if a fluoride supplement is needed for your child.
Be patient while teaching your child to brush. They may throw a fit and cry when you try and brush their teeth, just be patient and persistent and you will prevail. Like anything else, if you stick with it they will eventually appreciate your tender care and attention to their teeth.
It is a good rule of thumb to only allow your child to drink water after they have brushed their teeth at night. Encourage your child not to share cups, pacifiers, spoons or toothbrushes with other siblings as this may spread cavity producing bacteria.
Suggestions for making tooth brushing less of a battle:
- Let your child pick a fun character themed toothbrush to use
- Use a fun, flavored toothpaste
- Have multiple toothbrushes for your child so they can pick which one to use each time, which will give them a sense of control
- Make it a family event, have everyone brush at the same time
- Let your child brush your teeth
- Read fun books about tooth brushing to your child
- Let your child eat or drink something that will color his or her teeth and let him or her brush them clean
- Use a tooth brushing chart to help establish a routine
- Use child-friendly flossing aids
- Show your enthusiastic approval of your child’s sparkly clean teeth and fresh breath