Healthy habits are best started young, and oral hygiene is no exception. The topic of oral hygiene for babies and young children is a very popular one at North Creek Family Dentistry. Here are a few highlights of caring for your little one’s teeth:
Before the first teeth erupt, you can wipe the inside of your child’s mouth with a washcloth to get them used to having their mouth cleaned out. As soon as the first teeth are present, begin brushing the teeth in the morning and before bed with a soft bristle child toothbrush and a small (grain-of-rice-sized) amount of toothpaste with fluoride. This daily exposure to fluoride will help their developing teeth calcify and get strong. However, because the child is not able to spit out extra toothpaste, it’s important to use a very minimal amount to avoid overdoing it. Once the child can spit, you can use a larger (pea-sized) amount of toothpaste to brush.
When you brush, be sure to get the entire surface of each tooth. This means brushing the fronts/lip side, backs/tongue side, and biting surface. You may need to gently pull up the upper lip for the top teeth or push the tongue out of the way for the bottom teeth to get right by the gums, where plaque usually accumulates. When the teeth touch, it’s a good time to start flossing as well. Floss picks are a good way to floss your child’s teeth and avoid getting your fingers bit!
Diet is also very important to a child’s teeth. Avoid giving juice, and opt instead for drinking water or milk and eating fresh fruits and veggies. Also, avoid fruit snacks, candy, and other sugary foods that stick to teeth and if you do allow your child to eat them, brush well as soon as they’re finished.
Bring your child to the dentist around their first birthday. We will check and brush their teeth, do a quick fluoride treatment, and talk with you about healthy habits for your little one. Give us a call at 402-413-0505 to schedule a well-baby check, or any time you have questions. We look forward to seeing those tiny smiles!