How Can I Help Keep my Child's Teeth Healthy?
Taking care of your child's teeth is important from the moment their first few baby teeth appear. Here we will go into how you can take care of your child's teeth, from the infant years to ages 6 and above.
Baby teeth usually first emerge when an infant is 6 months old. Tooth decay can and does happen in infants, and the teeth most often affected are the upper front teeth, but other teeth can be affected as well. Although baby teeth are not a child's permanent teeth which will grow in much later in life, they are still just as important to take care of for the overall health and comfort of your child.
Even before your infant's first baby teeth emerge, you can help keep their gums healthy by lightly wiping the surface of the gums with a damp cloth.
Starting from when the first baby teeth come out, put a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) on a baby toothbrush and gently brush the teeth. Brush the teeth thoroughly twice a day, or as directed by a dentist or a physician.
Children ages 3-6
By around the age of 3, children should have their full set of all 20 baby teeth grown out. To keep their teeth healthy and clean, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and a child-sized toothbrush. Help brush your child's teeth thoroughly twice a day and make sure to teach your child how to properly rinse his/her mouth. Start flossing your child's teeth as soon as you see two teeth which touch one another.
It is recommended to keep brushing your children's teeth for them until they are capable of doing it effectively on their own. If your child is capable of brushing by him/herself, do make sure that you always supervise your child.
As your child's baby teeth start to fall out, and the permanent teeth begin to grow in, it is even more important to take good care of their teeth. After all, permanent teeth are irreplaceable and are the final set of teeth you will have for the rest of your life.
Make sure to bring your child to visit the dentist every 6 months, and to teach your child to brush his/her teeth for two minutes twice a day and floss once a day. By this age, you can also show your child how to properly rinse with mouthwash.
Limit certain foods and drinks
Sugary foods and drinks like candy, chocolate, cake, soda, juice etc are childhood favorites, and a lot of children just can't get enough of sweets. Unfortunately, as most parents know, sugary foods easily erode the enamels and cause cavities so make sure to not let your children eat too many of these foods.
If your child does consume sugary foods, it would be a good habit to let them brush their teeth or rinse their mouth after eating.