Oral Care Tips for Kids

Help your kids take care of their teeth as early as possible to avoid problems like tooth decay or gum disease.

Here are some things you can do to keep your children’s teeth and gums healthy:

1. Before baby teeth erupt, clean the gums with a clean and damp cloth after each feeding. When the first tooth appears, brush it gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a little water. Instead of formula, milk, juice or sweetened liquid, fill a baby bottle with water if your child needs it to sleep.

2. Thumb sucking or using pacifiers can deform the upper dental arch and cause teeth misalignment. If possible, stop these habits before your kids turn three.

3. By age two, you can teach your kids to brush their teeth. Place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste (use toothpaste made for children) on a soft-bristled toothbrush, and guide your kids as they brush. Around age 5, they should be able to brush their teeth on their own, however, supervision is recommended.

4. Flossing removes plaque and food particles between teeth. You can begin helping your children floss by the time they are four or when two teeth are close to each other. At age 8, your child should be able to floss without assistance.

5. Proper nutrition is also necessary for your children’s oral health. Some foods and drinks may cause tooth decay, such as candies, cookies, soft drinks and juice. Bacteria feed on leftover sugar and starch and produce acids that attack teeth. Limit consumption of sweets and starchy foods, and make sure your kids brush their teeth after each meal.

6. Probably the best thing you can do is be a good example. Teaching your children the importance of preventive oral care helps them develop good oral habits later in life.

For more oral care tips for kids and the whole family, visit your Austin dentist today.