From a very early age, it is crucial to help your child take care of their teeth. Prevention and maintenance are the keys to a life of great oral health. Of course, your child will need help cleaning their teeth when they are young. As your child ages, the right way to take care of their oral health will also change. Use this guide to determine the best way to help your child take care of their smile based on their age!
Under 18 Months
Once your child’s baby teeth start to come in, it is time to start an oral care routine. You can start cleaning your baby’s teeth very early by gently wiping them with a very soft cloth, or brushing them with a small soft toothbrush and water. Babies should not consume any toothpaste or other oral cleansing products, but getting them comfortable with having their teeth brushed and making sure no food particle are left in their teeth will help prepare them for success.
Two Years Old
Once your child is eighteen months old, it is safe to start using a pea sized amount of low-fluoride toothpaste to brush their teeth. Many brands offer all natural, child-safe toothpastes with a variety of kid-friendly flavors available in store and online. Encourage your child to spit out their toothpaste after brushing, in order to minimize the amount of product swallowed. Be cautious when it comes to rinsing, as children will often simply swallow the water, and consequently the toothpaste with it.
It can be challenging to brush someone else’s teeth, as the angles are different and there are a lot of difficult-to-reach surfaces that need to be brushed. In order to help your child get a comfortable, thorough brushing, we recommend sitting them on your lap facing away from you. Sitting in front of a mirror is also preferable, for the best visibility.
Seven Years Old
As your child grows up, they will require less and less assistance with their oral care routine. However, most kids need an adult to help them with oral hygiene to at least some degree until they are about seven or eight years old. This can include supervision, assistance with flossing the hard-to-reach places, or other forms of encouragement and accountability. Every child’s needs are different and change at different paces. If you have any questions about your role in helping your child maintain a healthy smile, ask your pediatric dentist about it at their next cleaning!
Establishing an oral hygiene routine early on will help your child develop lifelong healthy habits that will serve them well. It is never too early to start taking care of their smile! If your child is due for a dental checkup, or if you are ready to schedule their first appointment with a pediatric dentist, call our office today!