Start Early with Oral Health
Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary! At Smile Line Dental Care, we make every effort to protect your child’s oral health and to make sure that they have a positive experience at our clinic.
Our kid-friendly practice welcomes you and your little one to come meet our warm and caring staff. We believe that making their visits fun and unintimidating will make it easier to come back for check-ups and treatment. This helps set a great foundation for keeping their teeth healthy for life.
Oral Health for Babies and Young Children
It’s never too early to have a healthy smile! Even before your child’s teeth erupt, it’s important to look after those little baby gums. Using a soft, damp piece of gauze or washcloth, carefully wipe down your child’s gums twice a day. This is especially important after feeding and before bedtime.
Once your child’s teeth start to erupt, the Australian Dental Association recommends using a toothbrush (one especially made for babies, which are usually smaller and have softer bristles)1. Before they are 18 months old, children’s teeth should be brushed using plain water twice a day.
After this time, you can graduate to using toothpaste that is low in fluoride. All you need is a small, pea-sized dollop, and be sure that all toothpaste is spit out instead of swallowed. You should avoid giving your child large amounts of fluoride at this stage of development, and remember to check all toothpaste packaging for information on age suitability.
We recommend storing all toothpaste products in a safe place, out of reach for small children, since some kids seem to enjoy the taste.
At about 2½ years old, you can be begin flossing your child’s teeth in order to help remove bacteria that causes decay. Avoid pushing the floss sharply up into the gums, since this can damage them and cause bleeding. Instead, slide the floss gently between the teeth and work it against the surface of each tooth.
Floss holders can sometimes be a solution for children who have trouble with their teeth being flossed.
If you choose to floss your child’s teeth after brushing, it’s a good idea to have them rinse their mouth afterward.
Tips for Helping Your Child Clean Their Own Teeth
When should children start brushing their own teeth? This will depend on your child’s individual circumstances, but a general age range for brushing without supervision is 8-10 years old.
Below are some tips for helping your child practice proper oral hygiene:
- Help your child brush for a full two minutes by introducing songs to help them understand the length of time.
- Help them set a routine for brushing. For instance, start with the back molars on the left and then the right, and work up to the front teeth. Routines and patterns like this can help ensure that children clean all areas of the mouth.
- Teach by example! Kids are experts at picking up your habits. Try brushing your teeth together so they can see you in action. Demonstrate the proper motion for brushing (gentle, circular) and length of time – once your child sees you do it, it will be easier to practice good hygiene without supervision!
Baby’s First Dental Appointment
Morning appointments for children are usually ideal, since they tend to be better-rested and more cooperative. These appointments also tend to conflict less with nap times and meals.
During your child’s visit, our dentists will check for any signals of tooth decay or other oral health problems. X-rays may be taken in order to check for hidden decay and to examine the child’s facial bones and developing teeth. We may then clean the teeth, depending on your child’s development.
We’ll also discuss with you any oral health habits, such as thumb-sucking or teeth grinding.
We recommend avoid using dental visits as punishments or telling scary stories about the dentist. We will take many steps to help your child feel comfortable and safe at the dentist!