Taking good care of your teeth is a habit that can begin very early in childhood. The first visit to your family dentist can occur as soon as the first tooth arrives. However, even before baby teeth begin to emerge, you can start to establish good oral care habits that will serve your child well into adolescence and adulthood.
Taking Care of Your Baby’s Gums and Teeth
One of the most important things you can do for your child before the first baby teeth emerge is to accustom her to having her mouth cleaned. Use a small piece of gauze or a soft towel to wipe her gums after you feed her. This removes any milk or formula left behind that can attract bacteria. When the first tooth arrives, continue to use a soft cloth or gauze to clean it. Consult with your family dentist to determine the best time to start using a regular toothbrush and toothpaste.
A child’s first toothbrush should be small and soft. You should also use a toothpaste designed for children. Be careful not to use too much, as excess fluoride can be dangerous for a baby or small child. Until your child can maneuver a toothbrush on her own, you will have to brush her teeth for her. As she gets older, though, you can teach her to maintain her own oral hygiene routine.
As Your Child Gets Older
By the time your baby has become a toddler, she can start to learn to brush her teeth on her own. There are many tools available that are specifically designed for children, such as toothbrushes with larger handles that are more easily maneuvered by little hands. As your child gets a bit older, you can teach her to floss using similar child-friendly tools such as floss holders. You can find these in bright colors, and shaped like animals, which helps make tooth-cleaning time more fun.
If you have any questions about how to best take care of your child’s teeth, ask our family dentist for recommendations. He can let you know what types of toothbrushes and floss holders he recommends, or might even provide samples so you can check out different kinds and see which ones your child likes best.
In need of a family dentist? Contact our office today to speak with a caring and professional member of our team!