It can never be too early to start taking kids’ dental care seriously. You can begin to care for your little one’s gum as soon as after birth, only that at first, you won’t use a toothbrush and toothpaste yet. Only when the teeth begin to pop up would you introduce toothbrushes and toothpaste. This will be better explained below. Although baby teeth may be small, they play a huge role in the child’s entire health. A healthy set of teeth will help your child chew properly, smile, and speak clearly. Proper kids’ dental care will help set good dental habits as your baby grows. In contrast, poor oral care can lead to disease, infection, and other teeth problems. However, to manage your kids’ dental care properly, you need to start early and make your baby get used to the daily routine.
How to care for your little one’s gum
At infancy, before the appearance of those tiny teeth, you can begin caring for your little ones’ gum. Rather than involving a toothbrush and toothpaste, which is irrelevant in this stage, you can follow these steps:
• Get a soft piece of fabric or moistened washcloth.
• Carefully wipe down your little one’s gums at least twice a day, especially after feedings and before bedtime.
With these simple steps, you will be washing away bacteria and preventing them from clinging to your baby’s gums, thus preventing sticky plaque that can damage the baby’s teeth as they come in. However, when your little one’s teeth begin to come out, then you need to take a step up.
How to take care of your little one’s teeth
In general, a baby’s teeth may start to appear between age 4 and 7 months. The first teeth to appear are usually the 2 bottom front teeth. Most kids have all 20 baby teeth by about 3 years of age. As soon as you see those little teeth, you might want to graduate to a toothbrush. It is thereby necessary to seek the advice of your child’s doctor, as some may suggest waiting until four teeth in a row have come out, while others recommend waiting until the child is 2 or 3 years of age. Whichever way, it is necessary to be critically careful when selecting a toothbrush for your baby.
Pick a toothbrush with a small head, soft brush (soft bristles), and large handle. The small head will allow easy access to their small mouths. The soft bristles will be gentle on their growing teeth, and the large handle will allow easy and convenient grab. As soon as their teeth appear, you can start using toothpaste in the amount of a grain of rice. You can then increase this to a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is age 3.
Should you include fluoride toothpaste in your kids’ dental care routine?
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps protect and strengthen the teeth against the formation of cavities. Fluoride is essential to your child’s dental health, as it can also help make teeth strong by hardening the tooth enamel. It is safe for children, and using it early in your baby’s life will provide the needed protection for their developing teeth. Even when it is safe for use, too much fluoride can cause tooth stains and be harsh on your baby’s health. So, be sure your little one does not take in fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash. You can further encourage your little one to brush by getting a flavored toothpaste, picking their favorite, and looking for a toothpaste that carries the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.
When can a child begin to brush on his/her own
As your little one begins to grow, they will need your help brushing their teeth until they are about 7 or 8 years of age. At this stage, they can brush their teeth on their own with little to no supervision at all, only if you sense over dispensing of toothpaste. This time, they can graduate to a larger-sized toothbrush, unlike that of a baby. On that note, they should be taught to brush their teeth for 2 minutes, brush their tongue to help reduce the amount of bacteria, likewise encourage flossing at least once a day. Flossing is another main part of your child’s dental care routine. To make flossing easier, you can purchase floss that comes on a handle. Also, note that toothbrushes should be changed every 3 to 6 months or when the bristles look worn.
You can always make dental hygiene enjoyable for your little ones by letting them choose their preferred toothbrush (color or character), favorite toothpaste flavor and reward them for good oral care. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), children are to be taken to see a dentist around age 1; doing so will help the dentist look for early problems with your baby’s teeth, and you can get proper dental care advice. However, should your child have tooth pain or a tooth or mouth infection, you need to see a dentist right away. You must know that getting the right toothbrush and toothpaste goes a long way in the general well-being of your child’s teeth.