You know that you should brush your teeth at least twice daily to maintain proper dental health. But do you know how your infant’s or young child’s teeth should be taken care of? It is just as important for their teeth to be maintained, to ensure healthy tooth growth and proper development.
Infants always require special attention since they cannot take care of themselves. They do not have visible teeth, but this does not mean that they do not require dental attention. On the contrary, it is quite necessary to keep their gums and mouth healthy. First, a dental history of the mother should be obtained in order to determine possible dental problems for the child. Hopefully this history will aid in disease prevention.
About the time an infant is six months old, he should be taken to a doctor and screened for signs of tooth development. Children should see a dentist by the time they are twelve months old. If they are not seen by their first birthday, they should be seen by a dentist no later than six months after the primary teeth start to develop. These are important check-ups for your child to have, just like other routine doctor visits.
As a parent, you have a primary role in continuing to maintain the dental health of your child, who is not able to brush or floss on his own. Before the primary teeth develop, you can use a small soft cloth to wipe your child’s gums. This will clear away any excess food that may still be left in his mouth. When your child reaches one year of age, the primary teeth should start to develop. You will need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to brush and clean the primary teeth. You can floss too if you like, but there are not enough teeth to make flossing very effective. You will need to care for your child’s teeth this way until he is old enough to do it on his own.
When your child reaches the age of three or four, you will need to teach her what you have been doing for her up until this point. You should instruct your child on the proper way to brush her teeth. Remember to reinforce the idea that she should not swallow the fluoride toothpaste. You may be able to help teach your child how to brush simply by brushing your teeth at the same time that she brushes her teeth. At this age, your child is learning a lot through the senses. If she sees you brushing your teeth in a certain manner, she may mimic that same way of brushing.
Finally, when your child’s teeth are touching each other, it is time to start flossing. Again, you will need to show your child how to floss his teeth since he has never done this before. Many different types of floss are available for children to use.
The entire time that you are helping your child become a better tooth brusher, you can also be teaching her about healthy eating habits that will preserve her teeth. Teach your child what sugary drinks do to teeth and suggest healthier alternatives. With these suggestions, your child’s dental health should be great!