One of the many milestones parents track with their new babies is the emergence of the first tooth. But, when should you first visit the dentist? Probably earlier than you think. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children should visit the dentist within six months after their first tooth appears or by age 1.
Cleaning your child’s teeth should begin at birth using a washcloth at bath time to wipe his or her gums clean. Once his or her first pearly white pops through, begin using a soft infant toothbrush twice a day with a small amount of fluoride toothpaste. Keep in mind that children don’t need much toothpaste. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends using a smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice for children from birth to age 3. For children ages 3 and up a pea sized amount is all you need.
Your child will need your assistance until about age 7 or 8 to ensure he or she reaches his or her back teeth for a thorough cleaning. Flossing is another important part of healthy teeth and should be done at least once a day. Make it easier for your child by using floss that comes on a handle.
Just like adult toothbrushes, your child’s toothbrush should be replaced every 3 to 6 months or when the bristles appear to be worn. All family members should visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings and check-ups.
- ADA. (n.d). 5 ways to prevent kids’ tooth decay. Mouth Healthy by the American Dental Association.
http://www.mouthhealthy.org/~/media/MouthHealthy/Files/Infographics/ADA_MH_5ways.pdf?la=en [Accessed 2018]
- ADA. (n.d). 7 ways to make brushing fun for kids. Mouth Healthy by the American Dental Association.
https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/babies-and-kids/fun-ways-to-encourage-kids-to-brush [Accessed 2018]
AAPD. (n.d.). FAQ. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/resources/frequently_asked_questions/#311
ADA. (n.d). How to care for your child’s teeth. Mouth Healthy by the American Dental Association. Retrieved from https://familydoctor.org/dental-hygiene-how-to-care-for-your-childs-teeth/