Did you know that February is National Children’s Dental Health Month? It’s a joint venture between the American Dental Association and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research designed to raise awareness about the importance of good oral health and practices in children.
In recognition of the occasion, Wow Dental, your Dallas area pediatric dentist, wants to make sure you have the information you need to properly care for your child’s teeth. With that in mind, here are some general guidelines to get you started.
Within a few days after birth, it’s smart to start cleaning your baby’s mouth with a clean, moist washcloth or gauze pad. This gets them used to the process and ensures that the gum tissue remains clean. It also gives you an opportunity to examine their mouths, making it easier to spot changes, including any teeth that are coming in.
Children Under 3 Years Old
Typically, your child’s teeth will begin coming in at around 6 months, though some kids don’t have a tooth come in until 12 to 14 months. Once the first tooth appears, decay is possible. That means, whenever that occurs, it’s time to start brushing.
Since they don’t initially have a full mouth of teeth, start with a fluoride toothpaste and use no more than the size of a grain of rice, unless advised otherwise by a pediatric dentist or physician. Make sure they brush twice a day and, once they are old enough to start doing it themselves, make sure to observe them throughout the process, ensuring they don’t use too much toothpaste or get in the habit of swallowing the toothpaste instead of spitting it out.
Children Aged 3 to 6 Years
Once your child is 3 years old, they can start using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Have them brush twice daily, unless directed otherwise by a dentist or physician. Additionally, once they have two teeth that touch, it’s time to introduce methods for cleaning between them, like flossing. Keep observing them at this point as well, enforcing good habits along the way.
When you are confident that your child has good brushing habits, you can let them brush on their own.
The dentists at Wow Dental in Dallas recommend scheduling your child’s first dental checkup by their first birthday. This ensures that your pediatric dentist can exam your son or daughter’s mouth to spot any potential issues and make custom recommendations based on their findings.
After that, your child should have an appointment with a pediatric dentist every six months, unless your Dallas area dentist recommends a more frequent schedule.