EARLY INFANT ORAL CARE
Proper oral care should begin in early infancy. Even if you’re still nursing and your child does not yet have teeth, it is important to encourage good habits, regular care, and the right tools (such as the correct toothbrush and toothpaste!).
In this section, we cover why it’s important to provide adequate oral care at an early age, what you can do to help your child’s oral habits, and what our role is in ensuring a bright and healthy smile from infancy to adulthood.
The Importance of Primary Teeth
Your child’s primary teeth are more important than you think. Yes, they’re not your permanent teeth, but improper oral care can cause issues further down the line. They’re also important to help instil proper chewing techniques. They provide the ‘outline’ for your child’s permanent teeth, guiding them to the correct position and allowing adequate space for each tooth. They also help in physical development of facial muscles and the jaw bone. Do not think you can ignore your child’s milk teeth.
Tips for Brushing Your Child’s Teeth
While we can guide you on best practice, we recommend taking an active involvement in the daily care of your children’s teeth. These are our top tips for maintaining oral health:
- Clean your infant’s gum. After feeding, use a moistened washcloth to very gently clean the gums.
- Start early. When your child’s first primary tooth (or ‘milk’ tooth) comes through, start brushing.
- Twice daily. Brush your child’s teeth twice per day with fluoride toothpaste. Once before bed, and one other time during the day.
- Use little toothpaste. If your child is under 3, use a small smear. Between 3 and 6, a pea-sized amount is plenty.
- Don’t rinse. The fluoride won’t be as effective if you rinse it out.
- After age 7, they can do it. Children can usually handle brushing their teeth on their own from about age 7. However, we still recommend supervising and making sure they brush their teeth for approximately two minutes.
Preparing for the First Dental Visit
It is recommend that your child gets used to going to the dentist early in life. By the time they are 1, they should already have an established regular dentist. Ensure that visits are regular, with your child visiting the same dental practice (and ideally, dentist) each time.
Before your child visits us, have a simple talk. You want to keep the language non-threatening. For example, when discussing an upcoming procedure, do not include words such as “pain”, “needles”, or “drilling”. These all have very negative associations, when in truth most procedures are relatively painless, even for young children.
Book Regular Appointments
Your child should see a pediatric dentist on a regular basis. Even with proper brushing technique and the avoidance of sugary snacks or beverages, dental problems will undoubtedly arise. Regular checkups will catch issues early, giving the best chance for quick, inexpensive, and painless treatment.
Our regular treatment includes the removal of plaque buildup and food debris, a total oral assessment, and thorough advice on how to help your child maintain adequate oral health. We can also advise on the best toothpaste for your child (do not use a regular type used for adults!), the correct toothbrush, and how to avoid an unhealthy diet that will damage your child’s teeth. .
The benefits of proper orthodontic treatment and care go far beyond a more pleasing appearance; they include teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime and a healthier mouth. If you’re interested in undergoing orthodontic care, contact Cochran Orthodontics today to schedule your appointment.
City Base Children’s Dentistry | 2246 SE Military Dr. | San Antonio, TX 78223