Dental Care Tips for Your Child
by Dr. Beau Beecher, DDS on 7/19/2018
The path to your child’s perfect smile starts with that first tooth.
Do you remember when you first started brushing your teeth?
Think back to your first visit to the dentist. When was it? How old were you?
As a parent, it can be difficult to draw from experience when determining how to approach your child’s dental care as they start to develop their first teeth.
Fortunately, we can help shed some light on the best practices for growing your child’s smile.
It’s never too early to start brushing
Once that first tooth appears, let the brushing begin.
Start by gently brushing your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush twice a day. If they are under the age of two, use water. For children two years or older, use a dab of toothpaste. Brushing before bedtime is an important habit to start early in their development.
One common misconception is that “baby teeth” don’t require the same level of dental care as permanent teeth because they end up falling out. But those baby teeth are susceptible to decay and can develop into cavities, causing pain for your child.
These teeth are also placeholders while the permanent teeth develop, and losing them prematurely can affect the growth of those permanent teeth. If they come in at the wrong positions or at the wrong time, severe orthodontic work may be required to correct it.
Be mindful of what snacks you give them -- and when
Try to provide your child with healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables, rather than foods that contain starch or sugar. You will want to avoid sugary liquids, in particular.
It is especially important to be deliberate about when you allow your child to drink juice. Juice coats the teeth in acid, so a bottle before bed can have a corrosive effect on their teeth.
The same can be said for a bottle of milk. If your child falls asleep with milk or formula on their teeth, it will begin eating away at the enamel. If you are nursing before bedtime, remember to take a wet wash cloth and wipe their gums before putting them to bed.
If they sleep better with a bottle, we would suggest filling it with water.
Make regular visits to the dentist
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that your child visit the dentist before the age of one. That first visit doesn’t have to amount to anything more than a simple check-up. The goal is to familiarize your child with the environment and the basic procedures.
The dentist’s office is a place they’ll be visiting regularly for years to come, so it is important to ensure their earliest experiences are positive and comfortable.
To schedule that first visit, call your local Kimball & Beecher office. Your child will be in good hands!