Parenting is no easy feat. You have got to be ready to teach your kids, train them rather, to do things on their own to prepare them for adulthood.
Under your care, they learn how to walk, how to eat on their own, how to dress themselves among other life essential tricks.
One of the things that they learn from you is proper oral hygiene. If you’re a new parent, this is perfect for you.
Here are a few things you need to know about caring for your child’s teeth.
Babies start teething at the age of six months. This is what is known as primary dentition. The bottom front teeth are the first ones to break out between 6-9 months.
Before they fully break out, you should expect your child to be irritable and in a significant amount of pain considering their size.
You can help relieve the pain by putting their teethers in the fridge to cool or freeze some of their favorite baby food to suck on. The cold will help numb the pain and reduce the swelling.
During this period, you can clean your baby’s gums by wiping a clean soft washcloth or gauze over them carefully.
By the age of three, most children have their 20 primary baby teeth. However, the moment the first two teeth pop out, parents should brush their child’s teeth for them already.
When the first teeth pop out, use a soft-bristled baby’s toothbrush and water after breakfast and before bedtime. You can use a small dab of toothpaste for kids since they don’t contain fluoride.
Your baby will not know how to spit toothpaste out voluntarily at that age. So, to prevent fluoride ingestion, use toothpaste for kids or just plain water.
By the age of three, most children are ready to brush their own teeth but you have to be around to supervise, make sure they don’t use too much toothpaste or hurt themselves while brushing.
According to Colgate Professional, parents should lead and guide their kids’ brushing from birth to the age of 12. By this age, they would have already learned the motor skills by heart and are able to routinely follow proper brushing techniques.
As mentioned above, parents are to brush their kids’ teeth for them from birth to 3 years. After which, supervision and follow up is required. Once your toddler is done brushing his teeth, go back for one more sweep to get to the hard-to-reach areas and introduce flossing to them.
At the age of 6, children are able to follow a proper brushing technique and parents should regularly check up on their kids to make sure they are consistent with their brushing method. You can also let them try flossing on their own.
Once the second molars erupt around the age of 12, you can now let your kids brush their own teeth without supervision but with gentle reminders of keeping the oral hygiene habit consistent.
According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), it’s best to take your child for his first dentist visit when the first tooth appears and no later than his first birthday.
This will help your child get accustomed to seeing the dentist at an early age and therefore, not develop a fear. Your dentist will also be able to give your more tips about caring for your baby’s teeth and what to expect.
Always remember to use non-fluoride toothpaste for the first few years until your child learns how to spit. It can be harmful when swallowed.
If your child has a habit of thumb-sucking, help him wean off of the habit before the permanent teeth sets in. These habits can cause problems with teeth alignment.
In order for your child to develop an understanding why dental hygiene is important, you, as a parent, have to play an active, involved and consistent role. Yes, you might encounter problems during this suggested 12-year process but there are ways to help them practice a healthy oral hygiene routine.
And always remember that it won’t hurt to pay your dentist a visit if you notice something wrong or unsure of with your child’s oral health.