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Helping Your Kids with Their Dental Care Routine

From the time your baby gets their first tooth, it’s important to start a strong dental care routine. In fact, studies show that children with cavities in their baby teeth are more likely to get cavities in their permanent teeth. 

For today’s blog post, let’s dive into pediatric dental health and how you can help with their dental care routine.

How to care for your baby’s teeth

Did you know that some children are more prone to cavities because of a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans? It feeds on sugar and leads to acid that dissolves tooth enamel (the outer protective layer). Ultimately, this process causes tooth decay. Babies aren’t born with this bacteria, but research reveals that they can acquire it early on from the saliva of their parents or caregivers (from cleaning off a pacifier with your mouth, sharing utensils, etc.). The more bacteria in the adult’s mouth, the more bacteria the baby will acquire. 

Feeding habits also impact a baby’s dental health. Infants who fall asleep with a bottle of milk or juice may be at risk for baby bottle tooth decay. As they’re sleeping, sugar collects on their teeth and feeds the Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which leads to cavities.

To prevent the issues outlined above, begin brushing your baby’s first tooth as soon it comes in. Use a soft toothbrush and a tiny smear of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) to brush all around their mouth. Children should also visit the dentist by their first birthday or six months after their first tooth pops up. 

How to care for your toddler’s teeth

For young toddlers, it’s important that you still brush their teeth. Sit cross-legged and let your child recline in your lap and look up at you. This way, you’ll be able to easily reach their teeth. If they fidget or fight you, give them something to play with or watch. To encourage them, try to brush at the same times each day, making it a natural part of their morning and evening routines. Be sure to clean out any extra toothpaste until they know how to spit.

After your child learns to spit, use slightly more toothpaste — a pea-size amount. Once they reach age three, you should brush for two minutes each time. As soon as they have two teeth side-by-side (specifically molars in the back, which come in around age three or four), it’s important to floss once a day. 

If your child is still sucking their thumb at age three, it’s important to talk to your dentist, as this habit can cause crooked teeth or bite issues.

How to care for your child’s teeth

Continue to oversee your child’s dental care routine until age eight. Before then, they may not be able to reach all areas of their mouth — or have the focus needed to do it properly. Children can begin flossing on their own around age 10. 

Regardless of age, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends replacing a toothbrush every three to four months and visiting the dentist twice each year. 

Developing a strong dental care routine at a young age sets your kid up for a lifetime of good oral care habits!

We hope you’ll choose Maitland Ave Smile Co. when it comes to your pediatric dental care!


Call us at 407.834.0330 to schedule your appointment today! Check out our Dental Blog to learn more about topics like restorative dentistry, dental anxiety, and more.