As an adult, you understand the importance of good oral hygiene. Children, on the other hand, do not, and therefore need our help in establishing good oral health habits. In this blog post, the team at Town Center Dentistry in Rancho Bernardo shares five dental tips all parents should know.
1. Schedule a Dentist Appointment Early
Your child’s first visit to the dentist should occur no later than their first birthday. During your child’s visit, the dentist will check not only for dental plaque that can lead to cavities, but also to see if your child’s gums and jaws are healthy. If the dentist notices a problem, he or she can start treatment as soon as possible.
2. Clean Your Baby’s Gums
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that parents begin cleaning their babies’ gums within the first few days after birth. Doing so can keep the gums healthy and help prepare the baby’s mouth for teething. Use a wet cloth to gently rub your baby’s gums and remove any food debris and bacteria. Once your baby’s first tooth appears, you can begin using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste to brush the tooth twice a day.
3. Don’t Skip the Floss
Many children (and even adults) are guilty of not flossing their teeth regularly. The ADA recommends everyone floss their teeth at least once a day to remove food particles and bacteria that are hard to remove with tooth brushing. Teaching your child the proper way to floss at an early age helps reduce their risk of cavities and tooth decay. Have them floss between each tooth, gently moving the floss up and down using a “C” shaped motion.
4. Play It Safe
Mouth and tooth-related injuries are common, especially among children and babies. Even the smallest crack or tooth fracture can lead to serious dental problems. If your child plays sports, make sure they wear a mouth guard to prevent jaw, mouth and tooth injuries. Keep in mind that mouth guards are much less expensive than the cost of repairing a tooth! If your child suffers a mouth, jaw or tooth injury, seek emergency help immediately.
5. Protect with Dental Sealants
Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that work by filling in the grooves of the back teeth (molars), preventing plaque buildup. Not only are dental sealants effective in minimizing the risk of cavities among children, they are also much more cost effective in comparison to other dental treatments like fillings and crowns. Learn more about dental sealants from our dental team.