Starting your child’s dental cleaning & care at an early stage not only helps them get in the habit of taking care of their teeth but also helps with their oral health. By discussing a helpful guide and leading by example, these tips can help benefit your child’s oral health.
Beginning dental cleaning & care even before the first tooth appears. Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after feeding. Once the first tooth erupts, start brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush and water. Gradually transition to a fluoride toothpaste around the age of two, using a small (pea-sized) amount and supervising to ensure they don’t swallow it. Introduce flossing as soon as their two teeth touch! You will need to floss for your child until they have the dexterity to handwrite their own name.
Dental Cleaning Tip: A good brushing technique is to do gentle, circular motions to brush their teeth and gums. Make sure to brush twice a day, ideally in the morning and before bedtime. To choose the right right toothbrush, you should select a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles and replace it every 3-4 months or when the bristles become frayed.
Just like adults, sugary snacks and drinks should be limited, as sugar promotes tooth decay. You can encourage your kids to eat healthier snacks like fruits, vegetables, cheese and yogurt. Of course offering a sugary snack once in a while would not harm our teeth. Make sure to offer water as much as possible as water helps rinse your mouth and prevent tooth decay. Additionally, ensure your toddler gets a balanced diet with essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium for strong bones and teeth. Avoid allowing your child to sip juice throughout the day. If you want to give your child juice, give it to them at meal time, and restrict sippy cups to water only.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends scheduling a child’s first dental visit within six months of eruption of their first tooth or by their first birthday. This early visit allows the dentist to monitor oral health and provide guidance. After the first visit, continue with regular dental cleanings & checkups as recommended by your dental professional. Typically, these occur every six months.
Another great tip would be to consult your dental professional about fluoride treatments, which can help strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Dental sealants are also another great method to protect against cavities by sealing the crevices where food and bacteria can accumulate.
It is important to promote healthy habits by encouraging your child to develop good oral hygiene habits from an early age. Make brushing and flossing a fun and routine part of their day. Starting early with professional dental cleaning and check up appointments will allow your child to feel comfortable with regular dental visits from an early age.
Avoid sharing utensils, bottles or cups with your child to prevent the transmission of harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay.
Limit pacifier use. If your child uses a pacifier try to limit its use after the age of one as it can affect tooth alignment, increase the chances of crooked teeth and change the jaw alignment.
Remember that good oral hygiene habits during childhood can set the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Encourage your children to take an active role in their oral care and make dental hygiene a fun and positive experience.
Emma Johnson is the owner of Pearl Boutique, a clinic that specializes in teeth whitening. She is a registered dental hygienist and completed her diploma at Camosun College, which offers one of the best recognized dental hygiene programs in Canada. Emma also holds a health science degree in kinesiology from the University of the Fraser Valley.