How To Care For Your Child’s Oral Health
How To Care For Your Child’s Oral Health
Most parents are fascinated by their child’s adorable toothless smile, and they get even more excited when their child’s first tooth starts to grow. At the same time, most parents aren’t sure what they need to do when that happens! Don't worry, you aren’t the only one! We are here to guide you through your child’s teeth eruption process while sharing some dental care tips for your kids.
When Should I Expect My Child's First Tooth To Come Out?
Babies usually grow their first milk tooth when they are 6- to 12 months-old. The first few milk teeth that will appear are usually at the lower front of their jaw. Most children will have their complete set of 20 milk teeth by the age of 3.
There are also instances where a baby has one or more teeth present as soon as they are born, or when they are less than one month old. These conditions are known as natal teeth and neonatal teeth, respectively. Natal teeth require more attention than neonatal teeth because they are often not fully developed and may have a weak root. They may be small, loose, and discolored.1 If you need clarity, consult your family dentist, and they will conduct the necessary physical examinations. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment may be needed, such as extraction of the teeth.
What Happens When The Milk Tooth Is Erupting?
Here are some tips to lighten the mood of your children that are teething:
Wipe off the drool with a clean cloth to prevent rashes caused by constant moisture.
Give your children something chilled to chew on, such as a cold rubber teething ring. This helps to reduce the itchiness on the gum.
Teething biscuits or frozen fruits can help soothe their gums as well. Only recommended for children who can already eat solid food.
If your child develops high fever while teething, make sure to consult your child’s physician as it could be caused by something else entirely.
How To Care For Your Children's Teeth?
It is important to have proper dental hygiene and care for your children’s teeth from a young age. If your child has cavities or experiences tooth decay, it will fall out earlier than intended. As a result, the gaps in the remaining primary teeth will cause the others to shift and realign, which might lead to crooked teeth.
Here are some children’s dental care tips to help parents make informed decisions:
1. Clean the gum even before your baby's first tooth appears.
Practice wiping your baby's gums every day with a clean, damp washcloth. You can also gently brush with a soft, infant-sized toothbrush and water without any toothpaste.
2. Brush your children’s teeth as soon as the first tooth starts to come out, at least twice a day...
And make sure to cover all of the tooth’s surfaces. Cavities or tooth decay can happen undetected. This goes a long way in preventing your kids from having bad teeth.
3. Use the correct amount of toothpaste according to your child’s age.
For children less than 3 years old, fluoridated toothpaste in the amount of a grain of rice is sufficient. For children aged 3 to 6, use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.2
Watch and observe them as they brush to ensure that they do not swallow the toothpaste after brushing. Swallowing toothpaste or eating it out of the tube can cause an overdose of fluoride, which can be harmful to kids. As a precaution for toddlers, tilt the head slightly downward as you brush their teeth so that any extra toothpaste will ooze out of their mouth.
4. Choose the correct toothpaste for your kids based on their age.
Fluoridated toothpaste has the natural ability to prevent tooth decay or dental caries. Beyond that, there are also formulations that cater to different ages, such as toothpastes that are safe for toddlers and children.
5. Choose the right toothbrush for your kids.
The toothbrush you pick should be easy for your child to grab and use, while also fitting comfortably into the mouth. It’s always best to choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, as these will be gentler on the gums and tooth enamel.
6. Continue brushing your child's teeth for them until you are certain that your child can brush on their own.
Here’s a tip: set a 2-minute timer for your kids when they are brushing, teaching them to clean their teeth in a timely manner while ensuring that they don’t swallow toothpaste by brushing too long. You can always encourage and praise them whenever they brush their teeth correctly.
7. Never put your baby to bed with a bottle of sugary drink.
Prolonged contact to sugary drinks can lead to “baby bottle tooth decay”, which often strikes the upper front teeth. It can also affect other teeth as well if left to be.
8. Think twice before giving your child sugary snacks or drinks.
All kinds of processed sugars are terrible for the teeth. Candies tend to get stuck between the teeth when eaten, causing an increase in the growth of bad bacteria that further promotes cavities or dental caries in children – leaving your kids with bad teeth. Try not to reward your kids with candy or chocolate, and instead go with healthier alternatives such as fruits.
9. Take your child for their first dentist visit by their first birthday.
Tooth decay or dental caries can happen as soon as your children’s teeth start erupting, so it is important to have your child’s teeth examined early, just in case. You can also treat it as a trial visit to help your child get used to the sights, sounds, smells, and overall feeling of a dental clinic to prepare them for when they are older. After all, a dentist is always the best person to give accurate advice and instructions to clean your child’s teeth, so consult them as soon as possible!
We hope that these tips and information will help you better understand and take care of your child’s teeth! As they say, prevention is always better than cure, so start helping your child practice healthy oral hygiene now!
- Cunha, R. F., Boer, F. A. C., Torriani, D. D., & Frossard, W. T. G. (2001). Natal and neonatal teeth: review of the literature. Pediatric dentistry, 23(2), 158-162.
- Thornton-Evans, G. (2019, January 31). Use of toothpaste and Toothbrushing patterns among children and adolescents - United STATES, 2013–2016. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.