Although children may take a few years to fully grasp the concept of oral hygiene, a parent’s job of ensuring a child’s good dental health can never begin too early. Until children can brush and floss their own teeth, parents are all that stand between their children’s smiles and the forces that lead to destructive dental diseases. Today, your Beverly Hills orthodontist, Dr. David Alpan, explains early dental health for children, and offers a few tips to successfully teach your children how to brush and floss their teeth.
The Early Years
You shouldn’t wait until your child’s teeth erupt from the gum line before worrying about cleaning their mouths. The truth is that children are born with their primary teeth already formed, or forming, in the jawbone. To keep your newborn or infant child’s mouth clean before teeth begin to erupt, Dr. Alpan suggests running a clean, warm, damp washcloth gently over the gums to clear them of oral bacteria and residual milk after each feeding and before bed.
Teach a Child to Brush…
You can begin brushing as soon as the first tooth erupts using a soft-bristled toothbrush, preferably one that is specifically for infants. Use only water until the child is old enough to spit toothpaste out without swallowing any of it. You can turn the routine into a game to make it more fun for a child, such as explaining that the toothbrush is a weapon used to defeat angry mouth monsters (germs). Soon, they’ll want to wield their own weapon, though you’ll have to teach them not to literally attack their teeth, but to brush the monsters away softly.
When to Bring Your Child to the Dentist
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a first dental visit as soon as the first tooth appears, or no later than the child’s first birthday. Subsequent visits will allow your child’s dentist to spot early signs of trouble and teach your child more about taking care of his smile at home. If occlusal (bite) problems are detected, which can become exponentially worse as the child’s bite continues to develop, then early orthodontic treatment may be prescribed to avoid serious issues later in life.
Learn More with Your Beverly Hills Orthodontist
To learn more about caring for your young children’s dental health, schedule an appointment by calling our Beverly Hills orthodontics office at (310) 888-0066 today for a free initial consultation. For your convenience, we have an office in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, and we proudly serve patients across all surrounding communities.