Taking care of a child requires a tremendous amount of work. While being a parent is a learning process that offers lots of growing pains and daily life lessons, it is always wise to research how to take care of your child’s health and wellness.
One area you should most definitely do your research on is how to properly take care of your infant’s, toddler’s, or child’s teeth. Fortunately, the McAllen family dentists of WhiteWing Dental are here to help by providing essential advice on how you can help take care of your child’s oral health early on and beyond!
What to Know About Baby Teeth
Your child’s primary teeth, or most often referred to as baby teeth, serve as an essential stepping stone in your child’s young life. Baby teeth serve as the primary tool children use to learn how to speak, eat, and communicate with others.
Children start developing their first teeth anywhere from 6-months to a year.
From the moment your child starts growing their first set of teeth, it is vital to take care of them as they serve as crucial placeholders for their permanent adult teeth. If their oral health is not taken care of adequately in these early stages, your child can have long-term complications, including improper development of their permanent teeth.
Starting with the gums.
Since your newborn won’t start developing teeth for a while, you can start with oral health care by cleaning their gums whenever you finish feeding them. The best way to do this is to gently wipe their gums with a wet cloth or a moistened gauze pad at least twice a day – once you are done feeding them and once it’s time for bed.
Doing this will help wash off bacteria from their gums and will prevent plaque from contaminating their first set of teeth.
The importance of brushing.
Once your child’s primary teeth start erupting, you can begin brushing their teeth with an appropriately sized toothbrush and a fluoride-free toothpaste.
It is important to invest in a toothbrush that has a small head, long handle, and soft bristles.
While it may take a while to get them into the rhythm of brushing their teeth on their own, it is worth purchasing small, but effective tools such as a special toothbrush holder and a mug that they might find appealing. It will also help them a ton if you obtain a short stepping stool they can use to reach the sink.
Tips for Making Brushing a Fun & Interactive Experience
Yes, it will take time, effort, and lots of practice before your child starts brushing their teeth on their own. But introducing fun practices will make them much more eager to maintain their oral health.
Some examples of activities that can help motivate your child to learn about good oral practices include:
- Setting a playful tone: While children may find brushing their teeth a dreadful act, making the activity playful will lead to them looking forward to brushing their teeth. Incorporate games such as peek-a-boo or Simon Says to make the experience more interactive.
- Brushing to a beat: Music has the power to make anyone move, especially our little ones. Brushing teeth while listening to music can help them to find the right “rhythm” they need to brush their own teeth properly.
- Let them be a “big kid”: Children learn by mimicking their parents, older siblings, or other adults in their life. Parents know that children love feeling like a “big kid” and are always eager to take advantage of an opportunity to be one. With that being said, it is always best to lead by example and be a role model for your child. The more enthusiastic you are about your health and oral health, the more you can influence your child to follow in your footsteps!
- Treat them with a reward every once in a while: Motivating your child to do a task may require the occasional treat. Small rewards can encourage your child to improve their skills and keep them invested in taking care of their teeth.