Proper oral hygiene during the preschool years is an important start to a lifetime of healthy teeth. Studies show that children who have tooth decay in their baby teeth are more likely to have cavities as an adult. Also, there is a genetic predisposition to tooth decay; children whose parents have a high rate of decay need to be extra diligent with their home care.
Begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts. You should help your child brush until they develop the dexterity to tie their own shoes, usually until 5–6 years old.
Begin using toothpaste at the age of 2; and then only a pea-sized amount.
Brush your child’s teeth with any ADA approved toothbrush with soft bristles that is comfortable and size-appropriate. We also recommend the use of electric toothbrushes, which can do a better job of plaque removal.
Oral Health Concerns:
- Use only water at bedtime to avoid “baby bottle tooth decay”.
- Discontinue use of a pacifier after age 1. Prolonged use can lead to an open bite and an increased risk of ear infections.
- After about age 4, thumb-sucking can lead to orthodontic problems.
- Brush together. Get the whole family involved in creating good oral hygiene habits.
- Give children plenty of healthy snack options like fresh vegetables and cheese.
- Home care is extra important during orthodontic treatment. Make sure your teenager brushes and flosses around brackets and bands.
- Mouthguards should be worn during sports to prevent oral accidents.