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Caring for Baby Teeth: Essential Tips for Parents

It’s natural to want the best for your baby, and their dental health should be no exception. Healthy teeth are essential for so many things and giving your child the right start will set them on the right course for a lifetime of good oral health.

Why Is It So Important To Keep Baby Teeth Clean?
Even though baby teeth will eventually all be replaced by new, adult teeth, good dental hygiene is still essential during your child’s early years. There are two main reasons for this, the first being to keep them happy and healthy, and the second being to instill the positive habits they’ll need to maintain their own oral hygiene routine later in life.

Keeping Teeth and Gums Healthy
By keeping their teeth and gums healthy, you protect your baby from problems that could otherwise affect them like cavities and gum disease. These conditions can be very unpleasant, and taking care of their teeth and gums is an easy way to protect your little one from a painful experience.

Developing Good Habits
Brushing your baby’s teeth and gums and continuing to help them do so as they get older is a good way to establish an effective oral hygiene routine that can be adjusted as your child grows and becomes more independent in these areas. It also makes it feel normal for them to discuss their oral health with you and allows them to get used to seeing the dentist, reducing the chances of dental anxiety later on.

How To Clean Your Child’s Teeth and Gums
Exactly how you clean your child’s teeth and gums depends on their age and things may vary somewhat from one child to the next, but we’ve included some approximate ages to serve as a guideline.

Even before your baby’s first tooth has come in, you should aim to keep their gums clean. This can be done by wiping them gently with a damp cloth at least twice a day, including after they’ve been fed. This keeps their gums healthy and protects their teeth as they begin to come in.

Once their first tooth has come in, you should introduce brushing into the routine. You should brush their teeth twice each day, using a very small amount of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.

At around three years of age, you’ll be able to start using a slightly larger amount of toothpaste, around the size of a pea, and start teaching your child to spit it out once you’re finished brushing. You’ll also want to introduce flossing once they have teeth that touch. At some point after the age of six, you can also add the use of mouthwash to your child’s routine, but only once they’re capable of spitting it out.

By around ten years of age, your child should be able to brush and floss on their own, but that doesn’t mean your work is done. You’ll still want to check how things are going occasionally and make sure they’re brushing properly, though how often you’ll need to do this will depend on your child.

Their First Dentist Appointments
Although helping your child to keep their teeth clean by brushing and flossing is essential, it’s not enough on its own. Starting appointments early means that the pediatric dentist will be able to spot any potential issues sooner, allowing appropriate steps to be taken before it becomes a bigger problem. It also provides you with an opportunity to ask questions and get expert advice, as well as helping your child get used to the appointments before they can develop any worries or anxiety around them.

Their first appointment should be within six months of their first tooth coming in, but no later than their first birthday. Your pediatric dentist will advise you when your next appointment needs to be when you see them, but if your child experiences any issues with their teeth or gums or you have any other concerns, you should arrange to see them sooner.

In order to ensure your child receives the best possible treatment from a dentist who is great at dealing with kids, you’ll want to choose a practice that specializes in pediatric dentistry. Here at Pediatric Dental Specialists in Kansas City, all of our dentists have years of experience dealing with younger patients, so you’ll know your little one is in safe hands. Contact us to find out more or book an appointment.

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