Infant & Toddler Dental Care Tips

Dental care is essential for giving children the proper foundation for a healthy life, from childhood through adolescence and beyond. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) is a great resource for information on infant and toddler dental care. The organization offers the below tips for infant and toddler oral health. We encourage you to check their website for more important information. (www.mychildrensteeth.org)

First dental appointment: In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than his/her first birthday. Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.

Regular dental check-ups: A check-up every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health. Regular dentist appointments can detect small problems before they become bigger and more painful.  Pre-teens and teens also require regular dental check-ups.

Brushing: As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a "smear" of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a "pea-size" amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child's tooth brushing. Parents and caregivers should help or watch over their kids' tooth brushing until they are at least 8-years-old. Replace toothbrushes every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are worn or if your children have been sick.

Flossing: Kids should floss daily to remove plaque and food where a toothbrush can't reach. Children's teeth can be flossed as soon as two of the teeth touch each other.

Nutrition: Making sure your child has a balanced diet helps your children's teeth and gums to be healthy. A diet high in natural or added sugars may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay.

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