Things to keep in mind when brushing your child's teeth and teaching them to brush for themselves:
Brush twice a day as soon as their first tooth erupts.
Use a soft bristled toothbrush.
Brush after the first meal of the day and right before bed.
Remember to also brush along the gumline in soft, circular motions.
Floss once per day between any teeth that are touching.
Make it fun! Sing songs, use phone apps or timers, or play games to ensure brushing lasts for the full 2 minutes.
Diet and Nutrition
Diet, oral hygiene habits, and genetics are all contributing factors when it comes to cavities. Dr. Nasem recommends avoiding sticky foods such as gummy vitamins, candy, and fruit snacks. These snacks can get stuck in teeth the grooves of teeth, causing cavities. It is also important to stay away from processed foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugars because oral bacteria feed on these substances. Instead, whole fruits and vegetables, cheese, nuts, yogurt, and hummus are all great snacks!
Congratulations on your budding little one! A baby’s teeth begin forming during the second month of pregnancy and calcify between the third to sixth months of pregnancy. It is important to maintain a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins A, C and D, protein, calcium and phosphorus to help your child develop healthy teeth. Keeping your gums and teeth healthy during pregnancy is very important, as research shows bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease in your mouth can easily be passed to your child after birth. Regular dental cleanings and routine check-ups are recommended throughout pregnancy to keep this oral bacteria at bay.
When your child’s first tooth erupts, begin brushing with a soft baby toothbrush. Brush twice daily, with an emphasis on the nightly cleaning. This will familiarize your child with dental care and help establish strong habits for life. If your child is breastfed or bottle fed before bed, it is important to wipe their teeth clean with a wet cloth. This cleans away the milk residue that could cause tooth decay.
Between the ages of 4-6, your child will likely want to start brushing their teeth on their own. You can let them brush on their own twice a day with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, but always be sure to follow up their brushing with an adult cleaning to ensure no plaque is left behind. They will need help flossing until they have the manual dexterity to tie their shoes on their own.
As your children get older, they will likely begin making their own food and drinks, and become more independent. It is important to continue to bring in your children for routine visits to enforce good hygiene habits and ensure their teeth are regularly professionally cleaned. At our office, we encourage teens and pre-teens to ask questions and become more active in the discussion of their oral health. At this age, orthodontics and aesthetic treatments are also commonly discussed. Dr. Nasem is happy to give advice and recommendations for potential orthodontic or aesthetic treatments with you and your child.
Have an Upcoming Treatment Appointment?
If you are preparing for your child's treatment appointment, be sure to take a look at our post-op instructions. You'll know what to expect no matter what brings you to our office.
Want more information about how to care for your child’s teeth? Have questions about cavities? Check out these common questions and our expert advice to help guard your child’s teeth against tooth decay!
How Do Cavities Form?
When plaque builds up on teeth, it feeds on the sugar and starches from left behind food particles, creating acid that eats away at tooth enamel. This weakens the structure of the enamel, creating small pits and holes in the tooth. These cavities must be treated with a dental filling to stop the progression of the decay.
What Are the Signs of a Cavity?
Signs of cavities include:
Sensitivity to heat and cold
Sensitivity to pressure while chewing
Small pits or holes in the tooth
Discoloration on the tooth
If you notice any of these signs, your child could have a cavity. If left untreated, a cavity will grow and eventually need a root canal or pulpotomy. Come in to Treehouse Pediatric Dentistry as soon as possible to prevent more costly, invasive procedures.