Dental Care for Babies, Toddlers, and Young Children
Although the baby teeth are only temporary, good dental care is still important. The tissue surrounding these teeth needs to remain healthy and strong to support the secondary teeth when they emerge. This means that it is important to start early, teaching your child the basics of brushing and flossing at a very young age. To familiarize your child with routine dental care during the early years, begin by wiping your baby’s gums with gauze or a soft cloth after feeding. As your child ages, you can “brush” your child’s gums and teeth (if any) by wrapping your finger in a soft cloth. By ages two or three, you can introduce your child to brushing with a toothbrush, and when two teeth emerge side by side, you can begin flossing.
Use these ten tips to make learning proper brushing and flossing and visits to an affordable dentist in Columbia enjoyable experiences for your kids:
- Let your child choose their first toothbrush, but be sure that it is a small, soft-bristled brush designed for children. If the bristles are still too uncomfortable for your child, soak the toothbrush in warm water to further soften the bristles.
- Many family dentistry experts recommend using plain water for brushing instead of toothpaste, up to the age of two. Talk to an affordable dentist about your child’s specific needs.
- When selecting your child’s toothpaste, read the label, since some brands are not recommended for children under the age of six. If you and your dentist determine that the use of toothpaste is suitable, place only a pea-sized amount on your child’s toothbrush.
- Brush your child’s teeth twice a day, in the morning and just before bed. Spend two minutes brushing, concentrating a good portion of this time on the back molars, where cavities often first develop.
- Replace toothbrushes every three to four months or when signs of wear appear, whichever occurs first.
- Teach your child not to share his or her toothbrush.
- As soon as your child has two teeth that touch, begin teaching him or her about the basics of flossing. Many parents find floss sticks or picks easier to use at this stage than traditional string floss.
- Ask your dentist in Columbia about your child’s fluoride needs, especially if your child is not regularly exposed to fluoridated drinking water. Supplements or fluoride treatments may be recommended.
- Consider dental sealants if your child has cavity-prone teeth. Dental sealants are plastic barriers that fill in gaps and spaces that may be particularly prone to collecting bacteria and debris.
- When your child is about six or seven, he or she should be able to handle brushing and flossing on their own. Until then, it is a good idea to assist and monitor your child’s brushing and flossing habits—and also to brush and floss along with them. Leading by example is a great way to teach your child healthy dental care habits.
It’s never too soon to start teaching your child about the importance of routine brushing and flossing. Proper dental care is a habit that can last a lifetime for the sake of your child’s health.
To learn about our family dentistry practice in Columbia, call Dental One Associates of Columbia today at (410) 346-2350 or make an appointment.
Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Columbia. With 11 affiliated practices throughout Maryland, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Dental One Associates of Columbia, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Dental One Associates of Columbia.