Getting your child to brush can feel like a battle of wills. There may even be days where you consider letting it slide just to avoid a fight. But don’t give in. Children can develop cavities in their baby teeth as early as age two, so it’s important to instill good oral hygiene habits in your child early on. Here’s how to set up your child for dental success:
- Ditch the Bedtime Bottle
Allowing your child to go to bed with a bottle of milk or juice can cause real problems in their teeth. The sugars that linger can cause tooth enamel to erode and teeth to become discolored.
- Pass on the Pacifier
After your child reaches his/her toddler years, it’s time to get rid of the pacifier if that habit has lingered on. It becomes harder to break this habit the older your child gets. Using a pacifier can interfere with how your child’s teeth and jaw develop, discontinue its use after your child’s first birthday at the latest.
- Don’t Brush Too Harshly
It may seem logical that brushing harder makes your teeth cleaner, but this will actually hurt your child’s gums. Instead, show your child how to gently slide floss between their teeth and slide back and forth in a zig-zag fashion. And use a medium-bristled toothbrush to show your child how to gently and efficiently brush all surfaces of the teeth.
- Toothpaste Isn’t Candy
There are several types of toothpaste on the market, and many of them are flavored to appeal to children. Your child may be tempted to swallow toothpaste, but it’s best to discourage this habit. Taking in excessive amounts of fluoridated toothpaste can lead to fluorosis, in which your child’s teeth develop brown or white spots.
- Don’t Skip the Dentist
Your child should see a dentist by the first tooth or first birthday, whichever comes first. This will help your child become accustomed to the dentist and educate you about how to best care for your child’s teeth as they grow. Dental visits twice a year are recommended.
If you are interested in learning more about how to instill good dental habits in your child early on, we welcome the opportunity to meet with you. To schedule an appointment, please contact Scott T. LeSueur, DDS & Charles A Dodaro, DDS online or by calling our Mesa office at (480) 834-6991 today. We serve Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and all surrounding Arizona communities.