Many parents don’t think too much about their children’s baby teeth, since they will fall out anyway. Yet good childhood dental habits can set the stage for a lifetime of oral hygiene. In addition, it is important to keep the baby teeth healthy until they are ready to fall out. Around 60 to 90 percent of children develop cavities in their baby teeth, and untreated dental disease can cause lifelong problems with the bite, the permanent teeth, and the gums. Here’s how to start your kids on the road to dental health.
Model Appropriate Behavior
Your kids are constantly watching you, so renew your commitment to your own dental health. Drink lots of water, minimize sweets, brush and floss regularly, and see the dentist at least twice per year. If your kids see these habits as just part of life, they are more likely to adopt them.
Normalize Brushing and Flossing
Start wiping your new baby’s gums with a clean, damp cloth or sterile piece of gauze within the first few days of life. As soon as the first tooth comes in, start brushing it gently with a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste. Once two teeth touch, start flossing between them. Your child should never remember a time when oral hygiene wasn’t a daily occurrence.
Visit the Doctor
Babies need a dental checkup once per year starting around their first birthday. Most pediatricians handle the first and second year appointments. These are great opportunities to learn about brushing an active baby or toddler’s teeth, managing teething issues, and any other concerns that might arise.
It’s fine to give small children milk or fruit juice, but keep an eye on how much they drink. Get your baby used to drinking plain water at naptime and bedtime, and he or she will be less likely to balk when you fill the sippy cup with it later on. As your child switches to solid foods, make sure the majority of snacks are healthier options such as cheese or fruit. When you do provide a sugary drink or snack, brush the child’s teeth right away if you can, or rinse the mouth completely with plain water.
See the Dentist
By around age three, most kids can brush their own teeth with a bit of help. This is a good time for a first dentist visit. The goal is to let the child get used to the office and the basic procedures in a low-stress way. Depending on your child’s personality, it might just be a quick chance to meet everyone, or the child might get his or her first exam and cleaning.
After the first visit, feel free to bring your child along on your own appointments to build comfort and familiarity. We will also start scheduling regular appointments for your child. As your kids grow up, we will by their side to ensure that their dental health is as good as it can be. From cavities to knocked out teeth, we are here for emergencies as well.
Married dentists Chad and Alexandra Schnabel welcome you to Savannah Dental Solutions. From caring children’s dentistry to high-tech cosmetic procedures and even full-mouth reconstruction, we blend the latest technology with traditional customer-oriented values. To start your journey to better oral health, call us today at (912) 354-1366.