When you have children, your entire life changes. No longer are you just living for yourself – all of a sudden, you are living for someone else. Being responsible for the health and well-being of a child can be quite stressful – and time-consuming. Between appointments with their doctor to ensure their health and keeping them safe and happy at home, the last thing on your mind is their dental health. This is especially true when you are the parent of a baby. However, it is never too soon to start preparing your child for a life of proper dental hygiene.
One thing you may not realize is that you should be cleaning your child’s mouth, even before they get a tooth. You can use a soft cloth to wipe the inside of your baby’s mouth after a feeding. Not only does this help to clean their sensitive mouth and remove bacteria, it also helps to get them somewhat used to the notion of a foreign object inside their mouth – in other words, it can help prepare them for a toothbrush.
When your child gets his first tooth, you need to start brushing it. You should use a soft brush that is designed for children to avoid any discomfort. This gentle brushing of the single tooth prepares your child for regular brushing, and it cleans the tooth. This is the start of a good dental routine. This is also the time when you need to schedule your child for a dental appointment.
Many people do not realize that babies need to visit a dentist. However, dental health starts at a young age. If you wait until your child is 5, his sensitive teeth may already be damaged. By taking your child for regular checkups when the first tooth erupts, you can ensure his healthy teeth. You can also prepare your baby for regular checkups that will continue for the rest of his life. Good habits start young!
Another important thing to remember is to avoid giving your baby milk or juice when they go to sleep. In an ideal situation, your child will finish his bottle or cup before he goes to sleep. However, if he insists on having a drink, use only plain water. If you allow your child to fall asleep with milk or juice, you increase the chances of tooth decay. This is because the sugars in the juice or milk are allowed to sit in his mouth, feeding the bacteria, and causing damage to the tiny teeth.
When your child is old enough to brush on his own, make sure you provide guidance and help when needed. You can expect to help your child with brushing until he is about 8-10 years old, or whenever he is able to thoroughly brush his teeth – and don’t forget the flossing! Good dental hygiene for kids is not a difficult task. It is simply something that you, as the parent, must take charge of when they are young. Your child will thank you when he is older and has healthy teeth and a gorgeous smile!