Your child’s oral health is directly linked to their overall health and well-being. While your dentist should see your child at least twice a year for routine cleanings and exams, a large majority of their dental care will be performed at home. As a parent, you aren’t expected to know everything about how to care for your baby, toddler or young child’s teeth. At West Hill Family Dental, we are here to help guide you.
One of the most common questions that parents ask is “how early can we use toothpaste?” Keep in mind that it is never too young to clean your child’s teeth and gums. In fact, you should use a washcloth to wipe down your newborn’s gums before the teeth even emerge. In general, if your child is younger than 18 months, stick with water and a soft toothbrush to clean the single or few teeth they may have. After this age, however, you can begin to implement toothpaste as part of their dental care routine at home.
Choosing the Right Toothpaste
At 18 months of age, it is important to choose a toothpaste that is safe for children. There are a variety of options available, but feel free to ask one of our hygienists or dentists. The safety of toothpaste is critical because there is a likely chance your child will swallow some of it until they can learn to spit correctly. In addition, you should only use a pea-size amount on the toothbrush. A toothpaste that is low in fluoride or has no fluoride is typically best until they reach the age of 2, according to the American Dental Association.
Creating a Positive Experience
Don’t forget to make dental care as positive and rewarding as possible. Approaching the task as a chore will discourage the habit when they are old enough to perform it on their own. Speaking of independent brushing, a child is usually ready between the ages of 6 and 9. Instead of their age, parents should evaluate their responsibility, dexterity and coordination. At West Hill Family Dental, we encourage parents to find ways to create a positive association with dental care at a very young age, such as getting their favorite flavored toothpaste, playing a silly song while they brush or create a reward chart for consecutive brushing.
Is it time to schedule a pediatric dental visit? If your child has reached the age of one or produced their first tooth, we want to see them. Call our Rocky Hill dental clinic today. We treat every member of your family!