Good dental health starts with a baby’s first tooth. When it comes to good dental health, it’s never too early to teach your kids how to take care of their teeth. Even though they won’t start getting their permanent teeth until they’re five or six, instilling good habits in young children will give them bright smiles that last a lifetime. Here are our tips on how to start dental care when your children are young.
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
At Green Valley Ranch Dental and Orthodontics, we recommend bringing your child in for their first dental checkup when they’re around age three. They just need to be old enough to sit still in the chair and allow the dentist or hygienist to look inside their mouth. You can help your child prepare for their first visit by explaining what will happen by playing pretend or by reading a story about going to the dentist.
During the exam, we’ll take a look at how their teeth are emerging and how their jaw is growing. We’ll check to see whether thumb-sucking or pacifiers are having any impact on the shape of your child’s mouth. And, because baby teeth have a thinner layer of enamel than permanent teeth, we’ll also check for signs of cavities and tooth decay.
Give Your Child the Tools for Good Teeth
Even though their baby teeth will end up with the tooth fairy, it’s still very important to take good care of them. Cavities and decayed baby teeth can cause terrible pain! They can also interfere with your child’s speech development and their ability to bite and chew. Keeping your baby’s teeth healthy and teaching kids how to care for their baby teeth will help prevent cavities and set them up for good habits later on.
How to Brush a Baby’s Teeth
When your baby’s first teeth erupt, start using a damp washcloth to gently wipe their teeth and gums once a day. This will help your baby get used to the practice of daily oral care, and it will also help keep their mouth free from harmful bacteria. You can also try using a rubber or silicone toothbrush to stimulate the baby’s gums while they’re teething.
How to Brush a Toddler’s Teeth
Use only a tiny amount of toothpaste—no more than a pea-sized dab. Toddlers will often try to eat their toothpaste because it tastes sweet, but it’s not good for them to swallow too much toothpaste. The most important thing to teach at this age is how to spit after brushing.
Teaching Your Child How to Brush Their Own Teeth
One of the best things you can do to get a good habit started is to make brushing fun. Get kids involved by letting them choose their own toothbrush—a favorite color or character could change their attitude toward daily brushing. Playing a favorite song to brush to can help make a routine more enjoyable and also help them learn to brush longer.
Brushing together is a great way to teach by example, and to make sure that your child is brushing thoroughly and spitting out their toothpaste. It’s best to make sure they have a good grasp of the concept and are reaching all their teeth before you let them brush on their own. When they get older, you might consider getting them an electric toothbrush, to ensure their teeth are sparkling clean.
Early Childhood Dental Care in Denver
Is your child ready for their first dental visit? Green Valley Ranch Dental and Orthodontics is a family-friendly practice located on Tower Road in East Denver. We’d be happy to help you equip your child with the tools they need for healthy teeth. Schedule an appointment today!