As a parent, you’ll want to make sure that your kids grow up free from cavities. Besides sparing them from the awful pain of toothaches, taking care of your kids’ teeth also helps protect them from any serious health conditions that could arise from poor oral health. What’s more, you’ll also be protecting their smiles, which will help see them through life with confidence and self-assurance.
In order to help you care for your child’s teeth and gums, we’re providing some very helpful tips below. We also advise you to get in touch with your trusted dentist, or wherever you may be situated, for proper medical advice in matters concerning oral health.
How to Prevent Kids’ Cavities
Before They Start Teething
Even before your child gets their first teeth or starts teething, you can begin cleaning their mouth by running a damp, clean cloth over their gums to clear away residues and bacteria that accumulate from their feedings. Make sure to be as gentle as possible while doing this.
When They Grow Their First Set of Teeth
When your child finally grows their first set of teeth, you can start brushing for them by using an infant toothbrush and a very small amount of toothpaste. This amount should be no bigger than a grain of rice. The reason for this strict limit is that you want to minimize the amount of toothpaste being swallowed by your child during your brushing since too much can result in some unintended side effects. This can include an upset stomach, as well as damaged tooth enamel due to excessive exposure to fluoride. Increase the size of the toothpaste to a pea-sized dollop when they reach the age of 3.
When Their Teeth Start to Fit Closely Together
When the visible gaps in your kid’s teeth start to shrink, usually between the ages of 2 to 6 years, you can start helping them floss. Again, do so with a very gentle touch, as it can be very easy for you to accidentally cut into or injure their gums with the dental floss.
When They Start Brushing on Their Own
Teach your child to limit the amount of toothpaste they use, especially if they’re around 2 or 3 years of age, up to when they’re around 8 years old. This is to help avoid them swallowing too much toothpaste during brushing. You should also teach them to get into the habit of spitting while brushing. Spitting reduces the amount of toothpaste suds that form in their mouth, thus preventing it from flowing down their throat.
When They Start Developing Eating Habits
Once your child has gotten into the habit of brushing at a young age, continue to encourage them to do so daily. Do this by brushing along with them, or incentivizing regular brushing through the right rewards.
Pay attention to your kid’s diet as well. Limit your kid’s consumption of sugary food and drinks to prevent cavities.
Introduce healthy snacks such as fruits, veggies, cheese, yogurt, and non-sugary peanut butter to your child at an early age. This will help them temper their cravings for unhealthy, sugary stuff, as well as expose them to new tastes.
It’s never too early to begin caring for your kid’s teeth, even if they don’t have any yet, or they’ve barely begun to start teething. By getting involved with your child’s oral health right from the start, you can protect them from all sorts of oral health problems later in life, as well as preserve their sunny smiles for many years to come. You’ll also be teaching them to pick up the habit of proper oral hygiene, which is always important, especially in our world where processed and sugary foods are commonplace.
This is a guest post by Dr. Douglas Kim from Chino Hills Family Dentistry, a trusted dentist in Chino Hills and surrounding areas. Aside from providing general, family, and cosmetic dentistry services, Dr. Kim is also passionate about educating parents on how to properly care for their kids’ teeth.