Early Oral Care
Infants and Children
Getting an early start in regular dental care is an important step on the road to teaching your child healthy lifetime habits. We want to share with you the latest available methods for keeping your child healthy and safe.
Recommended age for a child’s first dental visit: 12-18 months
It is our goal for every child to have a “Happy & Healthy Smile.” Your child’s first dental visit can be as early as the eruption of their first tooth but no later than 18 months. Routine follow-up every 6 months help prevent or decrease tooth decay. Your child gets accustomed to the routine of dental visits, making them fearless of future visits to our office. We encourage parents to promote regular home oral care by brushing their teeth twice daily and enjoying their “Beautiful Smile.”
Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth
Once a molar appears, brush all teeth gently with a child’s size soft toothbrush and water. Position your child so you can see into the mouth easily; you might want to sit, resting his head in your lap. When your child can predictably spit and not swallow toothpaste, begin brushing the teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. (Consult with your child’s dentist or physician if you are considering using fluoride toothpaste earlier). Check your child’s toothbrush often and replace it when it is worn bent or frayed bristles will not remove plaque effectively. Begin using floss when adjacent teeth are touching. Flossing is important to prevent cavities from developing between teeth.
Click here to read more tooth brushing tips from the American Dental Hygenists' Association.
Care of Your Child’s Teeth
Brush and Floss your child’s teeth at least twice a day. Choose a child-size toothbrush for ease of use. The variety of color and designs can provide extra fun and motivation to keep children brushing. There also are powered or mechanical brushes available for children, so ask your dentist if one is right for your child. Proper brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer and chewing surfaces. When teaching how to brush, you may wish to stand behind the child and hold the brush to be certain that brushing is done properly.
Flossing is recommended as soon as two teeth touch. Flossing removes plaque between the teeth where the toothbrush cannot reach. Parents can help little children to floss with the use of floss picks. Older children can learn to floss with string floss. Flossing aides and instructions of their use will be provided by our staff at every check-up appointment.
Because flossing is a difficult skill to master, you should floss the child’s teeth until he or she can do it alone. Show the child how to hold the floss and gently clean between teeth. At about age 10 or 11, the child should be able to floss between teeth.
Fluoride mouthwashes maybe advised for children with braces or for children that have high risk of cavities.
Xylitol reduces cavities and provides protection that enhances all existing methods of prevention. It naturally occurs in many things including fruits, berries, mushrooms, lettuce and corn. Health food stores may also have additional products that contain xylitol available. Chewing gums and candy that contain xylitol are also better alternatives.
Tooth Brushing Chart
Click here to download a chart that will help you keep track of your child's tooth brushing.