Pediatric dentist in Costa Mesa, CA offers tips for keeping your kids’ teeth healthy
Oral health care is a concern for patients of all ages. When it comes to keeping your kids’ teeth healthy and assisting them in maintaining a beautiful smile for years, building the proper foundation at a young age is vital. Costa Mesa, CA area pediatric dental professionals at Smiles4OC can educate parents on how to maintain their child’s smile.
When should I become concerned about my child’s oral health?
Parents should be aware of their child’s dental needs the minute the first tooth erupts. This typically occurs between the ages of six months and one year of age. At this point, parents should bring their children in for their first dental appointment to learn about the ways to care for their child’s teeth at this early stage. Parents typically learn about the do’s and don’ts of pediatric dental care.
- DO provide a healthy, nutritious diet to children starting with their first solid foods
- DON’T leave the child for a nap or bedtime with a bottle of milk or juice, as this can lead to the development of acids on the teeth and contribute to dental caries (cavities)
- DO wipe your baby’s gums and teeth with a wet washcloth after meals to remove leftover formula or milk
- DON’T allow your child to use a pacifier after the age of 12 months old for bedtime
- DO stop your child from sucking their thumb or using their pacifier as early as possible
As a child ages, their needs for good dental hygiene habits increase. Children should begin to brush their teeth with their parent around the age of two, using a child’s toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Only a pea size of non-fluoridated toothpaste is needed. Children should be brushing their teeth with a parent monitoring for at least two minutes twice a day to help remove food particles and sugars that can become acidic and contribute to the development of periodontal disease or dental decay.
Once children reach the age of three or four, parents should integrate flossing into their child’s routine. Flossing helps remove food from between teeth that can become trapped and assist in growing bacteria in the smile. Parents should floss their teeth until the child is old enough to do so themselves successfully. Children should brush their teeth after meals and snacks for the best possible care. Supervision is essential until the good habits are established, and parents are sure their child is effectively cleaning the teeth.
Tips for improving oral health in children
- Make sure to supervise brushing and flossing until children have shown their ability to perform this task thoroughly.
- Brush and floss your teeth with your child to set a good example and give them an adult to imitate.
- Consider how a child’s nutrition may be impacting their oral health. This may include reducing sugary drinks, offering healthy snack options, and getting rid of juice and milk in a bottle or sippy cup.
- Take children to the dentist as soon as they develop their first baby teeth and continue doing so every six months into adulthood for cleanings and examinations.
- Ask the dentist about fluoride applications or sealants, which provide an extra layer of protection against cavities in younger children.
- Switch to a fluoride toothpaste around the age of five when the permanent teeth develop.
- Bring children to the dentist at the first sign of a problem to avoid costly, more damaging issues.
- Allow access to water throughout the day so children can wash away food particles and sugars that may linger on tooth enamel and contribute to decay.
- Ensure children have a set schedule for caring for their smile, so there is a specific time of day for brushing and flossing, building good habits for life.
How do I find out more about pediatric dental care?
Education is the key for parents who are interested in learning about tips for keeping their kids’ teeth healthy. Costa Mesa, CA area practice, Smiles4OC, is pleased to provide solutions for parents and children who are pursuing better oral health and wellness. Call Smiles4OC today for an appointment by calling (714) 557-0700 and visiting the office in Suite J at 1530 Baker Street. Our professionals have decades of combined experience in providing comprehensive dental care solutions for patients of all ages!