Your child’s smile is dear to you, but it’s important to her in more ways than one. Those tiny teeth make it possible for her to eat solid food and are the crucial difference that turn her baby jabber into words you can comprehend.

They’re also placeholders and trailblazers for her adult teeth, so proper oral care is essential to ensuring your baby’s grin will grow into a healthy adolescent smile and a stunning adult one.

Age-Appropriate Brushing

Start your child’s lifelong habit of brushing even before she has teeth to care for. Kool Smiles recommends wrapping a damp, soft cloth around your finger and using it to gently wipe down the surfaces of your baby’s gums. When her teeth break through, you can start using a toothbrush. Early on, you’ll be doing the honors for her, but there comes a time in every child’s life when she feels ready to brush her own teeth. If she’s under four years old, you should still brush for her, but you can always allow her to follow up behind you, doing a second brushing that will make her feel grown up.

Building Lasting Oral Health Habits

When you get your child into the habit of caring for her teeth early on, it will be ingrained as part of daily life. Still, there may be times when she’s just not into it, so keeping things interesting becomes an essential part of building lasting oral health care habits. Get your child a toothbrush in her favorite color, or one that’s decorated with her favorite cartoon character. Electric or battery powered brushes are another fun alternative because kids enjoy operating them. Brush alongside the kids, making it a family activity that shows them that you do it, too.

The Proper Equipment

Once the teeth start popping through, you’ll need to go toothbrush shopping. Children as young as 6 months should use a soft bristle toothbrush made specifically for kids. That will ensure that the head isn’t too big for your child’s mouth and that the bristles won’t be too rough on her tender gums and tiny teeth. You don’t have to worry about toothpaste for the first couple of years, just use water. After age two, you can introduce a small, pea-sized dab of toothpaste, but don’t use fluoride paste until your child is over four years old.

On the Subject of Flossing

Flossing isn’t necessary until your child has at least two teeth that are touching, and it becomes hard to thoroughly clean all the tooth surfaces. You’ll have to do the flossing for her until she’s developed the motor skills to brush by herself. This should be by about age 4 or 5, or whenever she can tie her own shoes.

Take your tyke for her first dentist visit around her first birthday. Even if you don’t have any concerns, he’ll be able to confirm that everything’s OK, as well as advise you on issues like teething and thumb sucking. It will also give your child a positive first impression of the dentist to (hopefully) make future visits enjoyable ones.

Source: Social Monsters

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