When should my child’s first dental visit be scheduled? Does my 3-year-old son need to do dental floss? How do I know if my child needs braces?
Many parents find it hard to judge how and how much dental care their kids need? They want to prevent cavities and other oral health issues in their child, but are not totally sure how?
There are basically 10 ways anyone can take care of oral health, but for children things are a little different.
In this article, we will cover all the basic guidelines of a child’s oral health:
1. When Should Kids Start Brushing Their Teeth?
The American Dental Association recommends that children start brushing their teeth as soon as they come into contact with toothpaste.
It is important to start good habits early, and that includes brushing your teeth.
Interestingly, good dental care needs to begin even before a baby’s first tooth appears. Just because the teeth are not visible yet, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. A child’s teeth begin to form in the second trimester of pregnancy and at birth, your baby has 20 primary teeth, some of them are fully developed in the jaw.
Here is how you can take care of those tiny choppers:
- Before the baby starts teething, run a clean and damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria
- Once baby gets teeth, brush them with an infant toothbrush. Use small amount of floride (not more than a grain of rice) and water. And make sure the toothpaste has American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of acceptance on it. If your baby toothpaste is without floride, keep the amount similar because it is still not good for a baby to swallow any toothpaste.
- When baby’s teeth start touching each other, you can begin flossing them.
- At around the age of 2, your child needs to learn spitting while brushing. Avoid giving water to swish and spit because this will likely increase the chances of swallowing toothpaste.
- Kids ages 3 and up can increase the amount of floride in toothpaste, but not more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
- Supervise your kids aged 8 and under while brushing, and make sure they are not swallowing it.
2. When Should Kids See a Dentist?
A dentist can help a child maintain a healthy mouth and teeth by showing them the proper brushing techniques, which is a good start. With a dentist’s supervision, they can learn to use toothpaste and they can learn brushing their teeth after every meal.
It is not easy to determine when it might be time for someone to visit the dentist. The best thing would be for children to go in when they have any complaints or when there are problems with their teeth like sensitivity.
But to stay on the safe side, even with no complains, you can take the child to dentist once a year just for the basic check-up.
3. How Can We Prevent Cavities in our Child’s teeth?
The best prevention measure for dental cavities is to take care of child’s teeth and to follow a healthy, balanced diet.
Following a healthy and balanced diet is the best way to prevent cavities because it will help maintain a healthy oral environment and provide nutrients for the teeth.
The first step in preventing cavities is to ensure that your child brushes their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. You should also rinse the toothbrush after every use and store it without touching anything else so that bacteria can’t grow on it.
It’s also important that you make sure that the child is not using anyone else’s brush.
4. What Dental Problems Can Happen with a child even after regular brushing and taking care of teeth?
Dental problems can happen with children even after regular brushing and taking care of teeth. Most of the time, parents are not aware of this because they don’t know what to look for.
There are three common dental problems that can affect children without them even realizing it. The first one is tooth decay, which has to do with cavities.
Tooth decay is irreversible and it progresses very fast if it is not treated in the early stages.
The second one is tooth abrasion which is also irreversible, but unlike tooth decay, it doesn’t progress that fast or at all if treated at an early stage. It has to do with the teeth being worn down by food particles or just brushing too hard on the gums.
Finally, there’s tooth sensitivity which most often happens after a cavity.
Solution to all these problems is a visit to dentist.
5. What Is Orthodontia?
Orthodontia is a branch of dentistry that aims to improve the alignment of teeth and jaws.
With the help of orthodontics, it is possible for kids to have straighter teeth as well as a better jaw alignment.
The main goal of this branch of dentistry is to move teeth from their current positions to where they would ideally be positioned if the skeletal and dental anatomy were perfect, without any tooth crowding or gaps.
This can be achieved by using a variety of methods such as braces, headgear, or other appliances.
As the kid grows, it is important to plan a routine dental checkup anywhere from once every 3 months to an year, depending on the dentist’s recommendations.
Keep the sugary foods in check, encourage the child to do regular brushing and flossing, and make sure that you are regularly in touch with the dentist if your child has sensitive or problematic teeth.