Your bouncing bundle of joy is turning six months old, and you start to notice white patches on their gums, rosy red cheeks, and irritability. From this point onwards, caring for your child’s teeth is essential and should not be overlooked.
While some children may have started teething earlier or even later, from the first tooth breaking through the gums, starting their dental care straight away will help them handle appointments, brushing, and losing their first tooth better when the time comes.
The First Sighting
As soon as you notice your child teething, you can help ensure that the teeth come through strong and healthy by wiping the inside of the mouth and gums with a damp cloth after feeding, regardless if they are breast or bottle-fed. Wiping the mouth helps to remove sugars before they settle into the gums and start to eat away at the new tooth before it begins its life above the gum line.
The simple interaction of having something other than a bottle or breast in the mouth allows the child to experience a new sensation and become accustomed to it so that when you introduce a toothbrush, the experience is less dramatic.
When you start feeding solid foods, this becomes more important as there are now other things that can settle on and in between teeth, which, if left to sit there, can cause cavities to form.
The Dentist Can Be a Fun Experience
The more you can do at home to teach your child about the dentist, their teeth and the importance of routine check-ups will affect how they approach appointments.
Make games out of exploring their mouths, count their teeth, then let them count yours, make silly faces or find pictures to colour that help you to explain good oral hygiene.
Let them pick out their toothbrushes and toothpaste. Make teeth brushing fun by playing songs that they can brush and move around to that are about two minutes long.
Set up a meet and greet with your dental office so your child can see and meet the team before the appointment. Meeting their dentist beforehand can often help them associate a visit with friendly people instead of meeting a stranger and having them poke around inside their mouth.
Let your child take a favourite toy or stuffie for extra comfort. Some children benefit from this added security in new situations and can help avoid meltdowns and fighting during the appointment.
In some areas, there is a lack of fluoride available. Fluoride helps to build up and strengthen tooth enamel. While fluoride is in drinking water, an application at your dental office is beneficial in places with a low fluoride count.
Most children will have this option available when they turn one and have teeth coming in. A quick appointment with a dental nurse will have the fluoride painted on in no time. As a bonus, it usually tastes like bubblegum, so children are more open to it. This application is quick to set, and the child can eat normally within minutes.
Getting your child into a good routine of brushing twice a day as soon as possible will help to protect and clean the teeth as they come in.
While children under two won’t understand the need to spit, getting them to practise brushing and cleaning their teeth is beneficial. Let them chew the brush and get to know how it feels in their mouths and on the teeth that they do have.
Using fluoride-free toothpaste in the beginning, until age three, will still clean their teeth and is harmless if swallowed. The flavours in the paste will also make brushing a fun activity.
You can also implement a reward system. Every time your children brush their teeth, they can get something to enforce an excellent job in learning how to brush. Avoid sugary foods and sweets as this works against you in keeping the teeth healthy.
Still, extra time with their favourite activity or something similar will help them get excited about cleaning their teeth and promote good oral health.
Floss Once, Smile Twice
Flossing can be harder to teach your child, and it may be something you do for them until they are older. Special flossing tools on the market can make it easier for children to use instead of pulling a string out of a small box. With easy-to-grip handles and the right amount of floss already attached, children can easily use these tools.
Bristol Dental is your go-to dental office for children and adult teeth cleaning in Mississauga. Visit our location for great advice on introducing good brushing and flossing techniques to your kids.
Take your child for routine check-ups. Regularly seeing a dentist will allow the dentist to check their teeth and ensure there are no issues. Should an issue need to be addressed, your child will be more cooperative as they have had good previous experience. Trust will exist between them and the dentist.
Equipped with excellent educational resources, your dental office and team are fantastic resources to help your child learn more about their mouth and teeth without being overwhelmed and scared.
A Balanced Diet is Great For Oral Health
Snacking on healthy crunchy fruits, such as apples instead of cookies or even cooked vegetables, such as carrots, not only helps them to grow and develop but will help to strengthen teeth and give them a bright smile.
Many children consume high-sugar foods and drinks, resulting in cavities by age three. Limiting these and getting into a good brushing routine will help reduce the need for potentially traumatic treatments, such as fillings, at such a young age.
Start ‘Em Young, Keep’ Em Strong
The sooner you start a good oral care routine, the better for the child’s teeth as they grow up.
While baby teeth will fall out and are replaced with adult teeth, starting to care for them as soon as they come in will benefit the adult teeth and keep things such as gingivitis and other periodontal diseases at bay for longer.