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Dental care should start as early as the first tooth to keep your child’s teeth strong and healthy.  However, it isn’t always easy to convince a child just how important dental care is.  These child dental care tips will help them get off to a good start.

Baby’s First Tooth

Parents often ignore that first tooth or even the first few since a baby can’t use a toothbrush yet. After all, a baby isn’t coordinated enough yet plus the bristles on toothbrush could hurt their gums, right? Actually, dental care for the gums should start before the teeth come in. Just gently wipe down the gums after a feeding with a soft damp clean cloth.  As the teeth come in use a very soft bristled toothbrush to gently brush your baby’s teeth yourself.

Bottles and Sippy Cups

Don’t let infants and toddlers fall asleep with bottles and Sippy cups. Not only is it a choking hazard, it also allows liquids to pool in the mouth and cause damage to young teeth while the child is sleeping.

Start the Brushing Habit Young

Children should start brushing their own teeth after each meal and before bed around age 1-2 depending on the child’s maturity and ability.  You can encourage this with plenty of praise such as using a tooth brushing chart with stars or stickers as they get older.  Always supervise younger children as they brush and be prepared to do a little of the brushing yourself as they learn so every tooth surface is completed.

First Dental Visit

Take your child as a toddler at the latest to The Houston Dentists for their first routine check-up. This can be scary to a child sometimes so it is important to do all you can to make it a fun experience. Explain what will happen before arriving at the office. For example, discuss how the dentists see the teeth with a special mirror or how the chair goes up and down.  Discuss any special fears your child may have with the staff before the visit. For example, if your child is extra apprehensive around strangers, let the staff know. It also helps to focus on the aspects of a dental visit that will appeal to your child such as the ride in the chair, stickers, pretty teeth, etc. 

Make it Interesting

As children grow older they might begin to grow bored with brushing their teeth. After all there is so much in a child’s world to explore.  Keeping things interesting from a child’s perspective helps them to keep brushing every day.  Dental accessories like brushes, cups and flosses come in a variety of styles and flavors. Let your child use a toothbrush in the shape of a favorite super hero or buy toothpaste and floss in fun flavors like bubblegum.

Kids love discovering things on their own. The Houston Dentists can give you small tablets or a rinse that turns their teeth purple! After they brush their teeth, have them chew one of the flavored tablets or use this flavored rinse. Then, tell them to smile at themselves in the mirror. Spots they missed while brushing will be colored purple with the temporary stain. Usually this brings about better brushing habits and a lot of giggles.  To show a child what decay does when they don’t brush their teeth drip orange juice on sugar cubes. As the cubes melt, explain that decay goes a lot slower but does the same thing to their teeth over time. Sometimes, knowing what happens encourages an older child to keep brushing.

Avoid sticky Treats

Avoid sticky, sugary treats for children as much as possible. These things break down and stay on the teeth sometimes even after brushing. Anything missed can cause decay fairly quickly. Instead offer alternatives like apples or sugarless gum.

Above all, teach children how to properly care for their teeth and make it a priority. Take them to The Houston Dentists for routine checkups so that any problems can be addressed quickly. Practicing these tips and teaching children how important their teeth are will ensure that their cute baby smile will develop through the years to a wonderful healthy adult one.