Orange County Dentist Dr. Tammy Tran strongly believes that parents should consider routine dental visits for their children at a very early age. These early visits, before problems develop, help avoid having the child associate dental care with discomfort or pain.
Sometime around age 6 months to one year the first teeth erupt, and that is a good time for that first dental visit. Dental problems at this age are not common, but we highly recommend that you have that first visit before any problems develop in order to help your child develop a healthy attitude toward dental care.
Around age two is when their baby molars come in, and the age when a child can become vulnerable to decay between the teeth. That’s a good age to begin flossing your child’s teeth.
At around age 8 or 9 your child may have enough dexterity to floss on his or her own.
A Summary of Dental Tips for Parents
- Begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt. For babies, a soft cloth works well. As the back teeth come in, you can begin to use a toothbrush. And make sure the toothbrush is sized to fit your child’s mouth.
- Make toothbrushing fun. Let them see you brushing your teeth, and talk about it as a fun activity. One way to help them enjoy toothbrushing is to talk about how clean and nice-smelling it leaves their mouth. You can also try adding songs or games to the routine.
- Don’t let your children use too much toothpaste. It’s good to use a fluoridated toothpaste, because that helps fight cavities. But there is an optimum amount of fluoride that is good, and an excess will cause mottling of the teeth. Since children tend to swallow toothpaste, limit your child to a pea-sized dot of toothpaste. That amount is plenty for good toothbrushing.
- As soon as their baby molars come in, they may need to be flossed. At around age eight or nine, they may have the dexterity to do this on their own.
- Don’t treat dental care as a punishment. Some parents try to get their children to brush their teeth by threatening them with painful dental care if they don’t. Doing this can create anxiety in your child and an unhealthy attitude toward dental care. And then, when they finally need that dental care, you may have an impossible situation on your hands as you try to get them to go to the dentist and cooperate with the dentist.
- Choose the right toothpaste. Many brands, including some marketed for children, have strong tastes that can sting little mouths. It may take some trial and error and the sacrifice of a few tubes of toothpaste to find a flavor your child enjoys, but in the long run it will be worth the effort.
- Choose the right dentist. Many adult cases of dental phobia can be traced back to a dentist who was indifferent to their comfort or was rough with them as a child.
If you have additional questions about your child’s early dental care or would like to set up an examination with Dr. Tran, call our office at 714-907-1557 or visit our Make an Appointment page.