One of the most important lessons a parent can teach their child is how to properly care for their teeth. Teeth are a key part of a person’s overall health, and preventing dental problems is easier than correcting them. As soon a child’s first tooth sprouts, proper dental hygiene should begin. There are many factors that go into caring for a child’s teeth, and the dental hygiene routine will change over time as adult teeth grow in.
Caring for Baby Teeth
Baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth or temporary teeth, usually begin appearing around the age of six months. Most children have all of their baby teeth by their third birthday. Once the first tooth becomes visible, a child should have their first dentist visit. If a child hasn’t sprouted a tooth by their first birthday, a dentist appointment should be scheduled.
Even prior to the first tooth appearing, proper gum care should be practiced. Wiping an infant’s gums with a piece of gauze or wet washcloth can help remove debris. Once a tooth pops through, a parent should begin brushing their infant’s tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water. Toothpaste should not be used in children under the age of 2.
How to Clean Adult Teeth
Most children lose their first tooth around age 6, but some children can be as young as 4 or as old as 8. By the age of 3, children should be regularly brushing their baby teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice daily. This practice should be continued as their adult teeth develop. Children over the age of 6 should also use a mouthwash containing fluoride on a daily basis.
Flossing is another important part of good dental hygiene. Younger children will need a parent’s help to properly floss, but older children can floss on their own. Special floss picks, which have an ergonomically designed handle, make it easier for children to floss in hard to reach places.
Make Dental Hygiene Fun
Children are naturally more interested in things they find enjoyable. Make dental hygiene fun by singing silly songs, setting a timer while a child is brushing, purchasing toothbrushes with their favorite characters on it, and watching animated videos focused on proper dental care. Twice yearly checkups with the dentist can be turned into an adventure when a special treat or activity is promised after the appointment.