What You Should Know about Caring for Your Child’s Teeth

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Many new parents are often unsure about proper oral care for their children.  One of our missions is to educate parents about the oral hygiene needs of babies, toddlers and young children and how oral care should evolve as a child grows. The dentists and hygienists at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph are all experts in the oral care of babies and children.

At all routine visits, they educate parents and caregivers on the age specific oral care needs of their children.  Dental care for children is ultimately about teaching them to develop good oral care habits they can carry with them as they grow older. Following proper oral care, guidelines are important in avoiding tooth decay.  In the US, it’s estimated that more than 25% of children get a cavity as early as 4 years old.

So what do you need to know about dental care for your children? Here are some helpful facts and suggestions:

  1. Dental care should start even before your baby has teeth. You should run a clean damp washcloth over your baby’s gums after feeding in order to get rid of harmful bacteria.
  2. Brushing should begin with the eruption of the very first teeth. A specially size toothbrush designed for infants should be used along with a baby fluoride toothpaste with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of acceptance.
  3. In order to minimize the amount of fluoride toothpaste, your baby will swallow, only use an amount of toothpaste equal to the size of a grain of rice.
  4. Flossing should also start when your child has 2 teeth touching each other. With flossing, you can clean the areas in between them that the toothbrush bristles can’t reach.
  5. Kids should learn to spit while brushing around the time they’re 2 years old. Don’t give them water to swish and spit, as they’re just more likely to swallow the water along with the toothpaste instead.
  6. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you should schedule a visit to a dentist when your child turns 1 year old.  In support of this recommendation, Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph offers free exams for children under the age of two.
  7. Good dental care also involves proper feeding habits. Always avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle in his or her mouth. While it may be an easy way to get babies relaxed for sleeping afterward, the natural sugars in breast milk, formula and cow’s milk can cause tooth decay if allowed to linger for hours on teeth and gums.
  8. Sucking on a bottle all day can also harm the teeth. Once children reach the age of one, switch them from a bottle to a sippy cup with a hard spout or straw. At 12 months children should be old enough to learn to drink from a cup on their own.