Guarding Your Child’s Oral Health
As a parent, you work hard to do what is best for your child. However, while there is an abundance of material regarding pediatric health care, diet, and safety, their dental care can sometimes go overlooked. Below, Dr. Stewart answers some common questions about the best way to protect your little one’s smile.
Common Questions about Pediatric Dentistry
Q: How soon should my child start brushing his or her teeth?
A: Proper dental care actually begins before teeth erupt. You should carefully wipe down your infants gums with a soft, damp cloth every day. As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, you should begin brushing it. Even the earliest baby teeth are subject to decay if not properly cared for. It is safe to use fluoride toothpaste, but you should use a very small smudge. At around age three, you can increase the amount of toothpaste, putting a pea-sized amount on the toothbrush. You should continue brushing your child’s teeth until he or she is old enough to do it alone. Typically this happens at around age six, but this will vary from child to child.
Q: How soon should my child start flossing?
A: Like brushing, flossing should begin as soon as teeth start to come in. Once your child has two teeth that touch, you can start to floss, using gentle strokes to protect their soft tissues. Again, you should floss for your child until he or she can do it independently. Most children can do this around age 10, but this will be different for each child.
Q: When should my child have his or her first dental visit?
A: You should schedule a dental appointment once your child’s first tooth comes in. By beginning dental care early, Dr. Stewart can monitor dental development and guide you in proper homecare.
Q: What are some ways I can encourage good dental hygiene?
A: The best way to encourage outstanding dental care is to set a good example. When children see their parents brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly, they are more likely to do these things themselves. You may even find that, by encouraging your child, you enjoy better dental health than you have experienced in years.