Setting good dental care habits is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s future oral health. Among all of your other responsibilities as a parent, it can be challenging to figure out how to provide them with the guidance they need. There are many questions to be answered, including when they should start brushing, flossing, even when they should start using mouthwash. We’ve put together this guide for parents to help you make the right decisions when helping your child build good dental care habits.
The first thing to know about your children’s teeth is that they begin to develop before they ever leave the womb. During your second trimester, they’re already beginning to develop teeth, and there are as many as 20 of them already present in the jaw, ready to start erupting. This means that starting your child’s dental care should start as soon as they’re born, and their dental care education should start as soon as they can properly hold a toothbrush. As your child ages, their oral hygiene practices should progress as follows:
By the time your child is 8, they should be able to brush, floss, and use mouthwash competently on their own. One of the most significant options for you to make for your child’s dental development is to make it a family affair. If everyone gets together to brush their teeth at the same time, you’ll get the benefit of supervising their brushing and bonding with them at the same time.
The American Dental Association recommends that you take your child to their first dental visit before they reach a year old. This helps you get a good start on their yearly dental visits and helps them begin developing positive associations with visiting their dentist. Regular appointments with the dentist will also help your child’s provider identify developing concerns while they can be easily addressed. Many orthodontic concerns can be addressed more quickly and less expensively while your child’s jaw and teeth are still developing. Another issue that dentists can identify early is a child’s susceptibility to cavities. For those showing a strong tendency to develop them, your dentist may suggest using topical fluoride before all of their teeth have even come in. If you haven’t scheduled your child’s next dental visit yet, do so today!