Taking care of your child’s teeth is, by all means, not an easy feat. Most parents would agree that dental care could sometimes be a huge challenge, especially when it comes to knowing the proper approach to it: At what age does my child need to start brushing teeth? How soon should I bring my child to a kids dentist? Metal braces look painful and complicated; are there other options to fix my child’s teeth?
All of these questions are valid and as a parent or a guardian, it is your responsibility to make sure that you know how to handle different scenarios involving your child’s dental care. This article will provide you with all the basic information you need.
Starting It Early: When Is the Best Time To Teach Kids How to Brush Their Teeth?
As a respectable informative portal on dental health in Singapore, Dentaleh always advises that proper dental hygiene always starts early. Even before a baby’s first tooth surfaces, you should be able to anticipate the dental care that he or she needs. Babies get their first teeth in the womb, particularly during the mother’s second trimester. You will not be able to see it but at birth, your child already has about twenty primary teeth.
So what can you do to take care of your little one’s teeth? Read through the following tips:
- Get a clean washcloth, wet it in room-temperature water, and use it to remove any residue from your baby’s gums. This can be done regularly prior to the onset of teething.
- Invest in a good quality infant toothbrush to clean your baby’s teeth when it starts to surface. You can buy an American Dental Association (ADA)-approved fluoride toothpaste to use with the toothbrush. Use the toothpaste very sparingly; the amount of it should not be bigger than a rice grain). Fluoride-less toothpaste also works, but make sure that you will use the same small amount.
- You can introduce flossing as soon as your baby’s teeth start to touch.
- When your child reaches the age of two, he or she should know how to hold a brush properly with one hand and spit after brushing.
- For children ages three and above, a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste should be enough.
- If your child is younger than eight, make sure that you keep a close eye on them since they could swallow toothpaste.
Tooth decay spares no one, including babies. One of the main culprits of tooth decay for children is sugar from milk, formula, or juices and giving a baby his or her feeding bottle while sleeping is harmful to the teeth and causes tooth decay. Cavities form in the baby’s teeth and in extreme cases, a tooth extraction procedure might even be needed.
To prevent this, you can transition from bottle to a sippy cup when your child reaches six months of age. Choose a sippy cup with either a hard spout or a straw.
A Special Milestone: How Soon Should I Schedule a Trip to the Dentist?
Most experts agree that the best age for children to start going to the dentist is one year old. During the initial appointment, once the condition of your baby’s teeth has been examined, the dentist will explain the correct way to brush and floss your baby’s teeth.
The purpose of these regular visits are two-fold: first is to be able to identify possible problems at an early stage and second is to familiarize kids to seeing their dentist. The latter is important because it helps kids lessen their fear and anxiety of having their teeth checked.
For the first visit, it is best to go to a pediatric dentist, a medical professional whose specialization is children’s dental health. In case your child needs a kind of specialist, the pediatric dentist will know who to refer you to.
The dentist may use topical fluoride if he or she determines that a child might be a risk for dental problems, such as cavities. The fluoride strengthens the enamel of the tooth. This process can also be done by the child’s paediatrician.
When the child’s permanent teeth show, tooth decay may be prevented using a special sealant to the back of the teeth that is most prone to decay. This will provide a protective layer to prevent bacteria from accumulating in between teeth. Nevertheless, you need to educate kids that proper brushing techniques and regular flossing are key to good dental hygiene.
What Are the Available Options to Fix My Child’s Teeth?
The alignment of teeth as well the bite could become an issue as children grow. Thanks to innovation in dentistry, orthodontic treatments and apparatuses have improved. Gone are the days when kids have to wear embarrassing metal braces and wires. As early as seven years old, children can now wear corrective devices and clear (plastic-made) braces instead of metal.
Experts will tell you that addressing dental issues at an early age is preferable and has a greater effectivity. This is because it is a lot easier to adjust the teeth of younger children using minor orthodontic treatments and devices.
Make sure to consult your dentist as to how often you should schedule a routine dental appointment. Most dentists would recommend a visit once every three months, or maybe once a year, depending on the condition of your child’s teeth. By avoiding too much sugar in food, practicing proper flossing and brushing techniques, and scheduling regular trips to the dentist, you can keep your child’s smile healthy and bright.