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7 Ways to Care for Your Child’s Teeth

Your child’s gums and teeth need special attention and care. Establishing a good dental care routine in the early developmental years is vital because you’ll set up dental habits that your child will remember for life. 

An Anchorage pediatric dentist recommends giving your child the best start to minimize the chances of serious dental issues down the road. 

Why it’s Important to Take Care of Your Child’s Teeth

The most significant risk of improper dental care is tooth decay. This applies to baby teeth and adult teeth. 

Although baby teeth don’t seem as important as adult teeth because they are going to fall out anyway, decaying baby teeth can cause many problems – in the short term and the long term.  

Prematurely losing a baby tooth impedes the adult tooth from aligning correctly, puts the adult tooth at greater risk of infection and decay, and can even cause a speech impediment.

Here are seven ways you can help your child avoid tooth decay and all the other problems that come with it. 

1. Care for Gums Early On

Believe it or not, your child’s dental care routine should start before your baby even has the first tooth. Make a habit of cleaning her gums after every meal. 

You can use a damp cloth or soft-bristled baby toothbrush to rub gently along your baby’s gums. 

2. Begin a Brushing and Flossing Routine

Continue to wipe your baby’s gums after every meal.  When teeth begin to appear, wait until they have grown in fully before starting to brush them. 

Once your baby’s teeth have settled, use a soft-bristled baby toothbrush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to brush them twice a day.

When your baby gets a little older, you can begin to encourage them to hold the toothbrush by themselves. Teach them the correct way to hold it, how to brush their teeth, and how to spit out the toothpaste.

When your child’s teeth begin to touch (this usually happens between 2-6 years old), start flossing between them. 

3. Avoid Pacifiers and Try to Deter Thumb-Sucking

Using pacifiers and thumb-sucking are habits that most young children develop, but if you let them go on for too long, they can affect the alignment of their teeth when they start to come in. 

Dentists recommend putting a stop to these habits when your baby is three years old and advise against coating the pacifier with honey or any other sugary substance. 

4. Schedule Your Baby’s First Dentist Appointment Between 6-12 Months

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends taking your child to the dentist at around six months old. However, babies get their baby teeth at different rates, so between 6 months and one year is perfectly fine. 

Taking your child to the dentist early on will ensure that any dental issues are detected and treated as soon as possible. Starting dentist visits early will also help your child feel more comfortable with the process. 

5. Limit Sugary Drinks and Treats

More than 40% of children will get cavities at some point in their childhood, but limiting the sugar in a child’s diet is the best thing a parent can do to prevent them. 

Limit soda, fruit juice, chocolate, and candy as these sugary foods and drinks cause bacterial imbalances in the mouth, which encourages plaque buildup on teeth. 

6. Catch Dental Issues Early

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises taking your child to the dentist every six months so that cavities and other dental problems can be treated early. But there are also a few things you can watch out for at home.

Look out for tooth grinding and clamping at night, a lisp or other speech impediment, or excessive mouth breathing. All these signs may indicate a dental issue.

7. Make Trips to the Dentist Enjoyable

Many children feel anxious about going to the dentist, but there are a few ways you can help your child see it as an adventure. 

You can prepare your child for their first trip by reading them dental-themed books and watching dental-themed kid’s shows – YouTube is an excellent resource for these. 

Remain positive and try not to project your personal feelings about the dentist onto your child – your child will look for cues from you, so try to lead by example. 

Choose a good pediatric dentist who is good with children and schedule an office tour so your child can familiarize themselves with the staff and practice. This will also let your child know what to expect. 


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