Parents often don’t realize the importance of dental hygiene for toddler teeth. Encouraging the proper care of your child’s teeth will help develop skills they’ll carry with them for a lifetime as well as reduce tooth decay during childhood. There is a risk of decay from the moment a tooth first erupts. This decay can eventually lead to tooth loss, but fortunately, it is easily prevented. Simply follow a few basic hygiene guidelines.
Between the ages of six and nine months the first primary tooth will erupt. By the time a child turns three years old they should have 20 of these primary teeth. If you’re not seeing any teeth by nine months you should visit your pediatrician.
A healthy child’s mouth includes smooth pink gums and white teeth that don’t have any staining or spots. The American Dental Association recommends a dental visit within six months of the first tooth’s appearance. If there is any discoloration, you’ll want to see a dental professional sooner.
Dental Hygiene For Kids
From the time a baby is born until their first birthday, oral hygiene only requires wiping the gums with a clean washcloth. Once the first tooth starts to come in, a baby toothbrush with water is used to surface clean the tooth. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends doing this just after breakfast and again before going to bed.
Children between 12 and 24 months can begin using a child size toothbrush with a small amount of toothpaste the size of a pea. Fluoride pastes can wait until the child is old enough to safely spit it out. At this point in time the fluoride can be a safe and natural substance to help prevent tooth decay. Your dentist or pediatrician will also recommend a fluoride supplement if your community’s drinking water doesn’t already contain fluoride.
Brushing and Flossing
Brushing is a very important part of dental hygiene for toddler teeth. Following the correct technique will give you the best results. The brush should be at a 45 degree angle to the gums and moved back and forth gently. Be sure to go over all surfaces of each tooth. Finish by brushing the tongue in order to remove bacteria.
Flossing isn’t necessary until the child has two teeth touching. This won’t be until they are between two to two and a half years old. Most children can handle properly brushing on their own by age six, but many have trouble with flossing until they are eight to ten years old.
Set a Good Example
Brushing and flossing with your child will make this hygiene practice a bonding moment rather than a chore. Let them see that you take care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly. The expert staff at Tamiami Dental Center in Miami can help you with all your family’s dental needs. Call 305-553-9655 for an appointment today.