Your child’s well-being is your biggest concern and their oral hygiene is an important part of their overall health. The care of your child’s teeth and gums begins with you – – you can set them on the right path for a lifetime of excellent oral hygiene.
Oral Hygiene for Infants
Babies are born with all their teeth – you can’t see them because they are hidden in the gums. Baby teeth start to break through the gums around 6 months but it is important to start good oral care for infants even before the first tooth comes in. From healthy gums come healthy teeth.
- Wipe your baby’s gums with a soft washcloth after feeding. This helps remove the bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
- Once they begin to erupt, brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear the size of a grain of rice – use a soft-bristle toothbrush.
- Take the bottle away after your child finishes drinking to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay can happen when babies drink milk, formula, or juice from bottles over long periods of time or fall asleep with the bottle.
- Schedule your child’s first dental appointment before their first birthday or after his or her first baby tooth is visible, whichever comes first.
Oral Hygiene for Children
As kids grow up, their oral hygiene habits should grow with them.
Kids have all their baby teeth by the age of 3. These are called primary teeth. Baby teeth start falling out around age 6; that’s when the permanent, or adult, teeth start coming in. Gaps between baby teeth are normal. They make room for the permanent teeth.
Establishing the Best Oral Hygiene Routine for Children
Here are some tips to help keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong starting at age 3:
- Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and make sure your child spits it out after brushing
- Be sure your child brushes for at least 2 minutes twice a day
- Start flossing as soon as teeth touch, or even earlier to help build good habits.
- Help your child brush and floss, and remind him or her to pay attention to the back teeth.
- Visit the dentist every 6 months.