As a parent, it’s natural to want to give your child the best possible start in life. That could mean ensuring they have opportunities to grow and develop as they age, providing care and stability at home, and making sure that you’re doing everything possible to help maintain good health.
As part of your commitment to caring for your child, it’s important to look after their teeth. But when should you start brushing your child’s teeth? At what age should they first visit the dentist? And what habits should you put in place while they’re still young?
All of these are important questions to ask. So, to help you take care of your child’s teeth we’ve put together this simple guide.
It’s easy to dismiss the significance of baby teeth when they will eventually get replaced. But baby teeth are essential while a child’s jaw grows and develops. The baby teeth hold the space until the jaw is ready for permanent replacements.
Eventually, baby teeth will naturally fall out. However, if these teeth are removed or are lost due to trauma or decay before time, it could lead to misalignments and overcrowding in adult teeth.
It’s important to understand that there’s less enamel on baby teeth. This means that they’re more susceptible to tooth decay.
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that’s found naturally in the mouth. When this bacteria feeds on starch and sugar, it creates acid that clings to teeth, causing cavities to form.
Your child will usually start to develop their baby teeth between the ages of six months and a year. For the first few months of a baby’s life, they’ll just drink milk, but around the time a baby’s teeth appear, their diets will expand to include foods that will contain sugars.
Even before your baby has teeth, you should clean their gums using a clean damp cloth. This wipes away any bacteria. As your baby’s teeth erupt, it’s important to start cleaning them.
Using a soft baby’s toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice), gently brush the teeth twice a day.
A child’s first visits to the dentist are important. During these appointments, we’ll be checking that your baby’s teeth are developing as expected, and that there are no health concerns.
In addition to this, bringing your child to see us from a very young age normalises dental visits and shows them that there’s nothing to be afraid of. This will hopefully set them up for a good relationship with their dentist for the rest of their lives.
You should bring your baby for their first appointment either when their first teeth start to erupt, or just before their first birthday – whichever happens first.
As your child grows older, they’ll be able to take control of their brushing. But that doesn’t mean your responsibility stops.
Your child will be exposed to sugary food and drinks, and it’s important to monitor how much they’re having. Try to find healthier snacks and sugar-free options.
Although your child may be brushing their teeth themselves, you should still supervise them to check their being thorough and try and make the experience as fun as possible so that the habit doesn’t become negative.
From the age of three, use a pea-sized squeeze of toothpaste, and encourage your child to spit the toothpaste out, but not rinse it when they’re done.
At Kreate Dental, we’re here to help you and your child develop the very best oral health habits in these essential, formative years. This means providing regular checkups and support as your child grows.
Call us today to book an appointment for your child.
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