Most everyone knows how important it is to practice good dental hygiene and take care of permanent teeth. However, it is also important to take care of the first set of teeth, also known as deciduous teeth or baby teeth. Baby teeth should be brushed and flossed just like permanent teeth to ensure they do not decay, become infected or cause damage to the permanent teeth that will be replacing them. These are some ways to properly care for baby teeth.
Caring for the Gums
Even before the baby teeth erupt, a baby's gums should be cleaned regularly. This can be done by using a clean damp cloth to wipe the baby's gums at least twice a day. This removes any bacteria that may grow on the gums due to breast milk, formula or baby food being left to remain on the surface of the gums. Wiping a baby's gums may also help decrease teething pain because sugar and acids from baby foods will not be lingering on the gums and cause irritation.
Caring for the First Baby Teeth
When the first baby teeth start coming in, a small, soft-bristled toothbrush can be used with just water to gently brush them. Once all of the baby teeth have erupted, it is safe to use a rice grain-sized amount of children's toothpaste on the brush. Brush the front and back of all baby teeth in a slow, circular motion making sure to get between the teeth as well. When the child reaches three years of age, it is safe to use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste on the brush. At this age continue to brush the child's teeth for him twice a day to ensure his teeth and gums get thoroughly clean.
Teaching the Child to Brush and Floss
At around 6 years of age, it is time to teach your child how to brush his teeth himself. Also, teach your child to swish and spit to make sure he does not swallow toothpaste. Make this a fun activity he will look forward to. You might try brushing your teeth at the same time he brushes his so he will enjoy it even more. Once he has mastered brushing his teeth, he may also be ready to learn how to floss. Do this by showing him how you use dental floss to get in between and around the teeth to remove any food or bacteria.
When your child's baby teeth have all come in, this is the best time to start taking him for regular dental checkups. The dentist can keep a close eye on how well the baby teeth have developed and watch for any issues that may affect the permanent teeth in the future. Also, those children who have regular dental checkups are often more enthused about practicing good dental hygiene on their own. For more information, contact services such as Today's Dental Care.