In honor of National Children's Dental Health Month, here are some helpful tips to keep your child's teeth cavity-free and healthy!
1) When Do Teeth Erupt?
Your child's teeth will begin to show up around 6 months and will normally have a full set by the age of 3. Your child will have 20 "baby teeth".
2) When Do I Schedule Their First Dental Visit?
You child's first visit to the dentist should occur when their first tooth appears, and no later than their first birthday. Even though your child may not have many teeth yet, it's a good idea to acclimate them to the dentist and for the dental team to review helpful home-care tips with parents.
Your dentist may also apply a fluoride varnish, to help prevent decay.
3) When Do I Start Brushing Their Teeth and How Much Toothpaste Do I Use?
Parents should start brushing their child's teeth twice per day, as soon as teeth appear. Make sure to use a soft-bristle toothbrush with an appropriate size head to fit in their mouths. Use a portion of children's toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice, until they are 3 years old. After age 3, you can use a pea-sized amount of children's toothpaste.
4) How Do I Prevent Baby Bottle Decay?
It seems simple enough to avoid, but unfortunately many young children suffer from baby bottle decay. These types of cavities can be devastating and progress rather quickly, and usually occur on the upper front teeth. Frequent or prolonged exposure to drinks that contain sugar are usually responsible. Do not put your child to bed with a bottle in their mouth, or use a bottle as a pacifier. If your child falls asleep after using their bottle, try to gently wipe the inside of their mouths with a wet washcloth.
5) What Are Dental Sealants?
One very effective treatment a dentist can offer to prevent cavities in children are dental sealants. Once the first adult molars have appeared, your child can have a thin protective coating applied to the chewing surface of these teeth. Children without sealants have 3x more cavities than children with sealants and according to the Centers for Disease Control and ADA’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars.