When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
Does it matter if baby teeth get cavities?
When do baby teeth start to fall out?
My kid needs braces?!
As parents, our top priority is to keep our children healthy from head-to-toe and that includes their teeth. But those sweet little smiles can raise a lot of questions, which is why Kids Teeth in Mount Pleasant has made tiny teeth their specialty!
Pediatric dentists are experts in the oral health of children and young people and even undergo additional schooling and training to offer the best care to their little patients.
Dr. Will and Dr. Mike of Kids Teeth share what you need to know about basic oral health and how to take great care of their teeth from birth to teen…
Baby Teeth Basics
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends taking your child to the pediatric dentist by 12 months of age or within six months of their first tooth erupting. To create great oral healthcare habits, start them early!
“The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents,” said Dr. Mike Myers. “We are continually educating parents on the importance of early dental care.”
Before baby’s first tooth erupts, you can start wiping baby’s gums with a wet cloth to clean their mouth and get them used to the sensation of brushing. Babies will begin teething around 4-6 months and will continue until up to three years welcoming a whopping 20 teeth! To keep those teeth healthy and to form great oral health habits, here are some helpful brushing tips for kids under three:
- For squirmy tots and toddlers, laying them down to brush may be safer, more efficient, and easier for parents.
- If little hands are getting in the way, wrap your child in a towel or give them a toy or a spare toothbrush to keep them busy while you brush their teeth.
- Two minutes twice per day is a great tip for older kids and adults, but not realistic for little ones. Until your kiddo is older, just concentrate on brushing all the surfaces well.
- Don’t forget to brush their tongue and begin to floss when the teeth start to touch in the back. If you’re worried about your child swallowing toothpaste, dip your child’s brush in fluoride rinse instead. It has all the same benefits as toothpaste and is a great alternative until they are ready to spit.
- Older toddlers who want to “do it all by myself!” should be congratulated on a job well done, but a parent should brush before or after to make sure the teeth are cleaned thoroughly.
Did you know that 1 in 4 children have at least one cavity by age four? National studies show that preschool-age children in the US are getting more cavities, so make sure to visit the dentist twice-per-year beginning by 12 months of age to prevent dental problems like cavities and tooth decay.
Your Child’s Teeth Age 5-8:
Understandably, assisting with brushing may become tedious or a downright struggle as kids age, but because this is the age kids tend to start to lose baby teeth and their permanent teeth begin erupting, it’s especially important to help or closely monitor your kid’s brushing habits and technique.
Now is the time to aim for the two-minute mark when it comes to brushing. Try setting a timer, singing, or playing a two-minute song, play a two-minute video, or even try making a game out of it. For the best brushing habits, try the following:
- Try to assist with brushing-especially at night since this is when cavities like to grow.
- Don’t use too much toothpaste. A pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste is enough.
- Don’t skip flossing! Be sure to assist your child with flossing each night as children tend to develop cavities in-between their back teeth during these years.
- Don’t forget to brush their tongue to prevent bad breath and germs that can cause dental issues.
- Remind your child to brush their gums!
Remember that the point of brushing is to get food off of teeth to prevent decay, cavities, and other issues, so try to limit snacking before bedtime after they’ve brushed their teeth and remind them to brush in the mornings after they’ve eaten breakfast. The same tip applies to you, Mom and Dad!
Your Child’s Teeth: 9+
You’re a broken record at this point reminding your kid to brush their teeth morning and night, but teaching them good hygiene habits now will save them pain later-especially when it comes to their teeth!
Now that your child is becoming more independent, it’s probably getting harder and harder to monitor their hygiene and oral health habits. A great way to keep tabs on your kid’s teeth without prying their mouths open at home is the use of plaque disclosing tablets. These tablets, offered at local Kids Teeth locations, release a harmless dye that sticks to plaque after cleaning, and are a great tool to help adolescents learn better more complete oral care techniques.
Help with brushing at this age includes:
- Remember, it’s okay to assist your child with brushing or flossing if needed at this age!
- For a hands-off approach, use the plaque disclosing tablets every few weeks to reveal places kids need to pay attention to.
- Remind your child to slow down when they brush! Kids (and adults) should brush in small, circular motions aiming for two minutes.
- Don’t skip the tongue or gums!
- Don’t forget to floss!
Did you know that back molars aren’t lost until up to 12 years of age? By age 12 most children will have all of their adult teeth except their third molars, or wisdom teeth, so teach them now to take good care of the teeth they’ll keep for the rest of their lives!
Other ways you can encourage oral health in kids of any age:
- Eat a healthy diet!
- Drink plenty of water.
- Keep up with dental visits.
- Monitor and assist with brushing until your child is able to practice good brushing solo.
- Brush twice-per-day, every day, and don’t forget to floss!
With the current health concerns, Kids Teeth understands you may have avoided visiting certain places or activities, but DON’T SKIP THE DENTIST! Dr. Mike reminds us that, “Dentistry is essential healthcare because studies have shown that underlying dental [and] periodontal disease puts patients at an increased risk for other systemic illnesses.” Their staff is taking every precaution to ensure that you can maintain your health without risking it.
Get Connected with Kids Teeth
Now is the best time to schedule an appointment! When you schedule an appointment at Kids Teeth through November 25th and tell them you read about it here at Charleston Moms, you’ll be entered to win a family membership to the South Carolina Aquarium! Winners are announced on December 7th.
Kids Teeth is ready to help you take excellent care of your child’s oral health!
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