It’s never too soon to start good dental hygiene habits. Your child can start visiting the dentist as soon as the arrival of her first tooth, and you can start instilling good habits even before that. Encouraging your child to take care of her teeth is the best way to ensure she will have strong teeth and a bright smile into adulthood.
Beginning Good Dental Habits
Before your child’s first tooth arrives, you can get him used to cleaning his gums by wiping them gently with soft gauze. This will help reduce the amount of bacteria in his mouth and will also help him get used to having his mouth cleaned on a regular basis.
When the first teeth arrive, you can start using a small, soft toothbrush, preferably one designed specifically for babies. If you use toothpaste, also use a product designed for babies, and follow the directions carefully. You won’t need a large amount of toothpaste, so use the recommended amount. Excess fluoride in your baby’s diet at this young age can cause permanent discoloration of his teeth. Consult with your dentist if you have any questions about what kind of toothbrush or toothpaste to use.
As Your Child Grows Older
As your child gets older, she’ll want to start brushing her teeth on her own. Special toothbrushes for the younger set are easier to grip and maneuver. With a special toothbrush, she’ll be more able to brush thoroughly and effectively. You’ll still want to help her, or even give her another brushing after she’s brushed on her own to be sure her teeth are nice and clean.
Flossing is more difficult for children, and can take time for them to learn. Your family dentist can help you find floss sticks that make it easier for children to maneuver the floss. These often come in fun shapes and bright colors that appeal to children, helping make sure they’ll use them regularly.
If you need ideas for how to teach your child to brush and floss, or guidance regarding the best toothbrushes, toothpastes, and floss, please contact us at the office of Joseph R. Loftus today!