Dental Care for Children: What You Need to Know

Dental Care for Children: What You Need to Know

Post Date: Apr 03, 2024

Thinking about dental care for your children might seem odd when they don’t even have teeth yet. But in reality, it’s never too soon to start helping your child take care of their mouth. The CDC reports that more than half of children ages 6 to 8 have a cavity in at least one of their baby teeth, and more than half of adolescents ages 12 to 19 have a cavity in at least one of their adult teeth. But fortunately, cavities are preventable. Here are some ways to help your children stay on top of their dental care.

Oral health starts before they’re born

Pregnant people might be at a higher risk for gum disease and cavities, which can in turn affect the health of their babies. If you’re expecting, be sure to keep up with your twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. And don’t skip your biannual dental checkups and cleanings, which can help you stay healthy and detect problems early.

Start a brushing habit from a young age

Even before your child has teeth, start wiping their gums twice a day with a clean cloth, once in the morning and once at night. This helps remove some of the sugar and bacteria that can lead to cavities, according to the CDC.

Once their teeth grow in, start by brushing twice a day with water and a soft-bristle brush. For children under two, be sure to talk to their doctor before you start using fluoride toothpaste. But once you get the go-ahead from their healthcare professional, help your child gently brush twice each day with a pea-sized dot of toothpaste, too.

Help them brush

When your child is under the age of 6, keep an eye on them while they brush their teeth. Once you’re sure they will clean all of the surfaces of their teeth and spit their toothpaste when they’re done, help them keep their morning and nighttime brushing routines with gentle reminders and a fun game if they need encouragement. You might want to sing a toothbrushing song to make sure they brush for long enough (dentists recommend at least two minutes).

Don’t forget the fluoride

When you choose a toothpaste, be sure to pick one with fluoride, a mineral that helps protect against tooth decay. Your child’s dentist may also recommend a fluoride treatment during their visit or prescription fluoride to help supplement if your community water supply isn’t fluoridated. Talk to their dentist if you have concerns about their teeth being protected.

You might also ask their dentist if they should try a tooth sealant to protect their molars. When it comes to cavities, 90% occur in those back teeth. Tooth sealants can help.

Schedule their first dental appointment

Professionals recommend taking your child to the dentist for the first time around one-year-old or within six months of them getting their first tooth. This helps dental care providers stay on top of their mouth health. And it also helps your kiddo feel comfortable and natural going to the dentist when you make it a part of their health routine from a young age.

Cost shouldn’t keep you from getting proper dental care for you and your family. CHP clinics in Bozeman and Livingston offer compassionate, judgment-free care, regardless of ability to pay. Make an appointment for your child, and prioritize their health and wellness.