New parents may be surprised by recommendations on infant oral care. At The Sugar House Dentist in Salt Lake City, we advise parents to begin brushing their baby’s teeth as soon as the first teeth emerge. After all, brand-new teeth are just as vulnerable to tooth decay as older teeth.
Parents are encouraged to use a cloth and a smidgen of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) to wipe each tooth. As more teeth come through, it’s even more crucial for the teeth to be brushed after each meal or, at least twice a day.
It is essential to pick the proper toothbrush, in order to make brushing time as pleasant as possible. A soft-bristled brush is best with a small amount of toothpaste. Infant and toddler-sized toothbrushes with a small head of bristles are helpful. Also, there are circle and triangular-shaped brushes that allow your toddler to walk around with their brush with less chance of injury in case of a fall.
If the toothpaste is causing an unpleasant struggle, brush without any. The goal is to remove food bits that will create bacteria followed by plaque and then cavities.
When two teeth touch, it’s time to floss. Flossing is important to make sure no food is lodged between the teeth. Proper flossing requires fine motor skills which most kids don’t develop before age six or seven. Parents need to assist with flossing until they are sure their child can do it effectively.
Until the child is old enough to properly brush his or her teeth, they should receive adult supervision and guidance. Instilling the proper brushing and flossing practices will reap lifelong benefits. While it may seem that supervising them is time-consuming, remember that it’s forming a daily habit that will safeguard their health. Also, dental expenses related to poor oral hygiene will be avoided.
Your child’s first dental visit should be within six months of the first tooth appearing and no later than their first birthday. It may seem early, but most parents bring their child to the pediatrician early. You can rely on us to look out for potential issues and counsel you about how to help your child preserve a healthy smile.
Ask about sealants, x-ray safety, and fluoride supplements. We can counsel parents with older children about sealants, tooth protection for athletics, and orthodontics.
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