Do you know how to take care of your child’s teeth?
I had no idea with my first child. I even hesitated taking my young children to the dentist. I had nightmares of them refusing to open their mouths, biting the hygienist’s hands, running into the waiting room screaming, or worse…
(Lyla was a little nervous)
Thank goodness my best friend is a hygienist and my brother-in-law is a dentist. Whenever I have questions I can go straight to them. I don’t think we realize how important oral health habits are in our daily lives, and how important it is to get our children started at a young age. My older children love going to the dentist, but my 3 year old is still at the age where you just never know what to expect. I have learned with each of my children that if I trust the dentist or hygienist, my children will also.
Did You Know?
-A child’s first dental visit is recommended by his or her first birthday. This allows your child to be screened for risk factors that could contribute to early cavities, and gives your child the best chance of avoiding dental disease in the future.
-The most common chronic childhood disease in America is tooth decay. It affects 50% of first graders and 80% of 17 year olds.
-Children’s teeth start forming before birth. As early as 4 months of age, the primary baby teeth push through the gums.
-A baby bottle containing anything other than water and left in the infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause tooth decay. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel.
-Fluoride is a substance that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Brushing and flossing regularly ensures significantly lower cavities.
What to expect on your child’s first cleaning
(3 years of age or older)
The first cleaning visit should be a “happy visit”. They get to sit in the chair and check out all the equipment until they are comfortable.
The next step is to check for soft spots (also known as decay) with a tool called “the explorer.” Libby was counting Lyla’s teeth and talking to her to make her feel at ease. After checking for decay she looks for any calculus (hardened plaque that can no longer be removed with floss or by brushing teeth) and removes it with instruments.
If there is no tartar build up it’s time to polish the teeth. The polish is designed to remove loose plaque and light staining. After polishing, rinse with water and suction. Dentists recommend fluoride as the last step. The application of the fluoride will vary depending on whether the parent and child want the treatment.
Not so nervous anymore.
The free bag of dental goodies at the end of the visit is always the best!
Tooth Care for Ages 4 Months-7 Years
-Once baby teeth come in, brush their teeth 2 times a day with water and a soft bristle toothbrush. (I’ve seen these at Babies Are Us and Target)
-Schedule the first dental check-up before his or her first birthday
-Brush 2 times a day for 2 minutes
-Teach your child not to swallow the toothpaste, use a small amount to prevent cavities
-Schedule regular dental check ups every 6 months
-Brush teeth morning and night for 2 minutes
-Begin flossing as soon as 2 teeth touch
-Use a child safe fluoride toothpaste for cavity protection
Make brushing and flossing fun and easy
In order to help your children with daily brushing Heather from CHICKABUG created these adorable Teeth Care Charts for boys and girls.
Print your own Teeth Care Chart here.
You can even laminate them and re-use them with dry erase markers. My kids love to pick out new tooth brushes so I told them when their chart is full, I will take them and buy them a new one. I just make sure they pick out a child size and that it has soft bristles. It is recommended to change out your child’s toothbrush every 3 months.
It is important to set a good example for your children by brushing your teeth at the same time as they do and eating healthy with them on a daily basis. After your child has taken a turn brushing make sure you go over their teeth one more time.
TIPS FOR HEALTHY TEETH
-Kids get calcium from yogurt, milk,cheese and dark leafy greens. This helps store calcium. Calcium is a natural ingredient in tooth enamel which decreases with age, so eating well as a child is essential.
-Timing is everything. According to Family Food, it’s better to drink juice or soda with lunch than to sip it all afternoon. Eating snacks and meals at regular times can also help keep kids teeth healthy.
-If you give your children juice dilute it with water. Give kids milk or water to drink instead of soda, juice, or other sweetened drinks.
I know by the end of the day we are all tired and it is really easy to forget about brushing our children’s teeth. Just remember it only takes 2 minutes and something that fast and easy can benefit your child’s health for the rest of their life. It can also prevent more costly and painful dental procedures later on.
What’s your child’s oral health care routine?
A special thanks to
Heather at CHICKABUG
Ashley was born and raised in Boise, Idaho and now lives in Henderson, Nevada. She studied in Germany and created a hand knit hat business in 1998–Mutze by Ashley (meaning hat in German). She is obsessed with her Husband, three daughters, fashion, coconut desserts, and garden gnomes.