February is a very important month for our office because it’s National Children's Dental Health Month. Our office urges to take children’s dental health seriously as baby teeth can have severe consequences on the way permanent teeth develop. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has labeled tooth decay as the most common chronic disease among children in the U .S. with 40% of children experiencing tooth decay by the time they reach kindergarten. These large amounts of tooth decay can cause cavities and early baby tooth loss. When a baby tooth is lost too early, permanent teeth can drift into the empty spaces making it difficult for other permanent teeth to find room, causing crooked and crowded smiles.
To avoid tooth decay and expensive, future dental problems among children, here is a dental hygiene timeline designed to keep your child’s smile happy and healthy throughout each stage of their childhood.
New Born - First Year
Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. Because of this, we recommend a baby’s first visit prior to or around their first birthday. Beginning their dentist appointments around this time is crucial as kids can develop significant oral diseases by 3 to 4 years of age. It is important to also become familiar with the physical appearance of your baby’s mouth at this time in order to easily detect any abnormal growth or sores in the future.
First Year - Third Year
Kids can learn to brush their teeth gradually over time and can hold a toothbrush at 18 months to 2 years old. For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than the size of a grain of rice. Brush their teeth thoroughly twice per day at morning and night.
Third Year – Eight Year
For children 3 to 6 years of age, use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day at morning and night. Supervise your child’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste. Limit their sugary drink intake to avoid rapid development of cavities. When your child begins developing teeth that touch, you should begin a routine of flossing their teeth daily. We advise for children to be supervised while brushing until they're 8 years old.