Like everything else in parenting, learning how and when to care for your child’s smile doesn’t come with a guidebook! Among all the other important milestones your little one is reaching, it’s important to make sure that their oral health is off to a great start too. But how exactly are you supposed to do that? Your Castle Rock pediatric dentist is here to share the basics of caring for your little ones’ precious smile. Read on as we cover gum care, brushing and flossing, and other important parts of caring for your child’s dental health.
Caring For the Gums Before Baby Teeth
Caring for your little one’s oral health starts long before their first baby tooth comes in. In fact, you won’t even be using a toothbrush or toothpaste right away! Instead, you’ll be focusing on keeping their gums clean. To do this, you should use a soft, moistened washcloth or clean piece of gauze and wipe down your baby’s gums at least twice a day. It’s especially important to clean their gums after feedings and before bedtime. This will clear away plaque and bacteria that naturally builds up on the gums throughout the day and night, which will keep the baby teeth healthy and strong as they come in.
When to Start Brushing & Flossing
Baby teeth are vulnerable to cavities as soon as they erupt, so you can graduate to using a toothbrush as soon as you see that first little pearly white. You can also begin to use children’s fluoridated toothpaste when their first tooth comes in, but be sure to only use a smear as big as a grain of rice. They can start using a pea-sized drop when they turn three. You should continue to brush their teeth until you’re confident that they can do it on their own, and then you can supervise them as they brush to make sure they continue to use the right amount of toothpaste and remember to spit it out after brushing.
For flossing, it’s important to get your child in the habit early in life. You can start flossing your child’s teeth when their teeth start to fit closely together, which can happen any time between the ages of two and six. It may take more time for your child to learn how to floss on their own, since it requires more dexterous movement. Talk to your pediatric dentist about using ADA-approved flossing tools like floss picks that can help make flossing easier and more effective for your little one.
What About Fluoride & Mouthwash?
A few other important things to keep in mind as you begin to clean your child’s smile:
- Fluoride: Fluoride is safe for children. It’s a natural mineral that is incredibly effective against tooth decay. As long as your child uses the right amount of fluoridated toothpaste and doesn’t swallow it often, fluoride is completely safe for them.
- Mouthwash: Children shouldn’t use mouthwash until they’re six years old. Then, they should be supervised until at least the age of 12. Talk to your pediatric dentist about the brands and styles that are safest for your little one’s unique smile.
Caring for a baby’s smile for the first time can sometimes feel somewhat overwhelming, but remember that you’re not alone! Your pediatric dentist will be with you every step of the way to make sure your child’s oral health is off to a great start.
About the Practice
Castle Rock Smiles is committed to providing the best pediatric dentistry and personalized oral healthcare for the growing smiles of Castle Rock. Dr. Layne Benzley has taken years of advanced, specialized training and has a true heart for helping children achieve and maintain happy, healthy smiles. With a family-friendly office environment, state-of-the-art technology, and complimentary consultations for new patients, he goes above and beyond to make dental care a pleasant experience for both you and your little one! To learn more, he can be contacted online or at (303) 660-5373.