Tooth decay, while rare, can and will happen to children and is considered as the most common chronic children’s disease in America. This could probably be the result of many things, though the most common suspect if the negligence of parents and their lack of knowledge of proper oral hygiene for children.
While severe tooth decay can result in tooth loss, which is a serious condition even for adults, it is something that can be prevented.
As parents, it is up to you to establish good oral hygiene habits for your children and you can do that by following these simple tips.
When the first tooth finally erupts
The first tooth usually shows somewhere around 6 and 9 months of age. By the age of 3, your child should already have, at least, 20 primary teeth. Children who do not develop their first tooth by 9 months should be checked by pediatricians for any developmental problems.
The primary teeth are white. It should have no spots or stains, and the gums should be smooth, as well as pink. If you see spots or stains in your child’s teeth, go to the dentist immediately.
It’s recommended that children be taken for their first dental visit six months after their first tooth erupts or by their first birthday, whichever comes first.
Cleaning your child’s primary teeth
For the first twelve months, your baby’s gums should be gently wiped using a clean washcloth or gauze. Once the first tooth appears, you should clean the surface using a soft-bristled, baby toothbrush and water. Do this after breakfast and before bedtime.
Between the 12th and 24th month, you should start using a child-size toothbrush and a pea-size amount of toothpaste. Fluoridated toothpaste should be avoided unless it’s specifically recommended by either your child’s dentist or pediatrician as children this young won’t be able to safely spit the toothpaste out.
Once your child’s teeth begin touching each other, which usually happen around the 24th and 30th month, you should start flossing their teeth. You can start teaching them how to brush and floss on their own too by this age, albeit with your supervision. Though, you may have to floss their teeth for them until they’re around 10 years old since younger children tend to have trouble flossing.
It’s also important that you apply proper technique when brushing and flossing your child’s teeth. If possible, ask for a proper demonstration from your child’s dentist.
Making it a family affair
Children are great imitators and will often pick up habits they see from the people around them, especially from their parents.
The best way to teach children proper oral hygiene is for you, as parents, to set an example that they can follow. Practice what you preach, as they say.
You can start by encouraging your children to brush and floss together with you. By doing so, you turn dental hygiene into less of a chore and more of a family affair that both you and your child can enjoy and look forward to doing every day!
Make an appointment with David Lunt DDS for your child’s next dental appointment at 818-885-7230. Learn more about Dr. Lunt’s practice by visiting the website at www.davidluntdds.com.