When should I start brushing my child’s teeth? How much toothpaste should I use? These are common and valid questions from many parents. You’ve got a big job to do in raising a healthy child, and their oral health is critical as they grow. When it comes to taking care of your child’s smile, the sooner the better. In fact, even if your baby doesn’t have any teeth, you should still be cleaning his or her gums on a regular basis to remove harmful bacteria.
The First Tooth
Once you see that first tooth emerge, it’s time to schedule the first dental visit. This appointment won’t be lengthy, but it will allow your child to become familiar and comfortable with going to the dentist right from the start. You’ll also need to begin brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Make sure you select a soft-bristled toothbrush that is designed for your child’s age. If your child is under two years old, only a small smear of toothpaste is needed, or about the size of a grain of rice. Even at this young age, encourage your child to spit and not swallow the toothpaste.
Ages 2 to 5
Once your child has reached two years of age, you can start putting a pea-size amount of toothpaste on the brush. Your child will also likely have more than one tooth, which means flossing also needs to be included in your oral hygiene routine. Now is the time to make dental care fun and rewarding. Remember that adults and kids should be brushing for two minutes, twice a day. Two minutes can seem like an eternity to a toddler or small child, so make it something they look forward to. Install a brushing app on the iPad or play some music while you get the job done. You can also find a variety of special toothbrushes, flavored toothpastes and hand-held flossers that appeal to kids.
Although they may want to, continue to do the brushing for your kids until they have the dexterity and coordination to do a good job. Keep up with your regular dental appointments and do your best to make dental care positive instead of a chore. A healthy smile is a confident smile.
To learn more about pediatric dental care from Salt Run Dental, please give us a call. We always take the time to educate parents on the proper ways to care for their child’s smile at home.
Salt Run Family Dentistry
St. Augustine, FL 32080