Oral & Vision Health Blog

What is the ideal oral health routine for kids?

There are few things that bring you more joy than the beaming, contagious smiles of your kids. These goofy grins, filled with delight at some of the silliest or simplest things, make the stress of a hard day at work and the sacrifices you make worth it. So, how do you protect that smile and ensure that it stays happy and healthy. You do so by following an ideal oral health routine for kids.

Before Birth

Your little one’s teeth start forming between the third and sixth month of pregnancy. This means, pregnant mothers can get a head start and begin caring for their children's oral health even before they enter the world. One of the best ways to do that is for mom to maintain a balanced and healthy diet, rich with the proper amounts of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D.

Right After Birth  

Once your baby is born, you can use a clean, moist wash cloth or gauze pad to clean your child’s gums. Additionally, before teeth begin to break through the gums, systemic fluoride can be ingested to help strengthen tooth enamel. This helps to fight cavities. (Quick note: After teeth emerge, fluoride can be applied through toothpaste and fluoride rinses. Toothpaste should not be swallowed due to the amount of fluoride present in it; eating too much fluoride can discolor the teeth.)

Baby’s First Tooth

Once your baby’s first tooth emerges, you should take your child for his or her first dentist appointments. This allows the dentist to look for tooth decay and screen for behaviors that have negative effects on teeth, such as thumb sucking. The dentist will also guide you on how to brush your children's teeth. Guidelines include:

  • For children under three years, use a smear of toothpaste with fluoride the size of a grain of rice on a child-size toothbrush.
  • For children ages three to six, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. 
  • Brush children's teeth twice a day.
Caring for Permanent Teeth

Once your child’s permanent teeth begin to arrive, ensure that he or her brushes for two minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. They should also start flossing once a day. These important steps maintain the health of their teeth and gums. Sometimes dentists will apply sealants to children’s molars to prevent decay. This service is typically covered at a minimal or no cost on a good dental insurance plan.

Few things can hurt a parent deeper than seeing their child hurt or crying. Whether that pain comes from tooth decay, the no. 1 childhood illness, or social challenges in school (caused by dental issues), as a parent, you want to do all you can to protect them from these hurts. Because oral health and overall health are connected, ensuring they have a great oral health routine is vital. Follow that up with obtaining a good dental plan for your child and the entire family, which makes regular checkups and cleanings at the dentist affordable. Because while your child’s dental health is important, there are many other expenses that come along with having children, for which you also must be financially prepared.

Related Topics:

Preparing for Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Does Breastfeeding Help Children Avoid Braces

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Top 5 Websites for Children’s Oral Health Information

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