Dental health is a vital part of being healthy, happy, and confident. The key to a life of strong dental health is to start early. This means that parents should carefully consider how and when they should start maintaining their children’s teeth. This guide will explain everything you need to know about when to start brushing and what the best dental health techniques are.
When to Start
You may recall that the recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry used to be that you should start brushing a child’s teeth when he or she turns two years old. This is no longer the recommendation. Instead, pediatric dentists now recommend that you start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the teeth develop. Your child’s teeth will first appear through his or her gums sometime between his or her first and second birthday. Every child develops at a different rate. As soon as you can see the teeth, you should start brushing.
You should use a dollop of toothpaste that is no bigger than a grain of rice. When the child turns three years old, you can increase the size of the toothpaste dollop to the size of a pea. Not only is it perfectly fine to use toothpaste with fluoride, it is actually recommended. Fluoride is effective at fighting cavities.
Dental Care Before the First Tooth
Your child’s dental health does not begin when his or her teeth first show up, however. Before this, you should already be cleaning the child’s gums. You can simply run a wet washcloth over the gums. It is recommended that you do this either once a day, or after each feeding. Additionally, you should continue to do this even after the teeth develop. It is a good idea to continue cleaning the gums in this way at least until all the teeth are fully exposed.
To recap all this information:
- Start brushing a child’s teeth as soon as they appear
- Fluoride toothpaste is safe and recommended to use at any age
- Use a rice-sized dollop of toothpaste initially
- Increase to a pea-sized dollop of toothpaste at age three
- Clean the gums with a wet washcloth daily or after feedings
You should always be in communication with your dentist. It is a good idea to start taking your child to a dentist, like a Cary, NC dentist, once his or her teeth start appearing. Your dentist will be able to give you specific advice that pertains to your child’s unique needs.
Thanks to Alliance Dentistry for their insight into how to care for your child’s teeth from birth until he or she is a toddler.