Let’s say you’re a new parent. You’ve watched your bundle of joy grow up into a healthy toddler. Then, while you’re cleaning up their gums, you get a glimpse of a small tooth bud growing out of their gums. Suddenly, you’re in for a minor tailspin—you search up dental care tips for kids, or perhaps how to look into your child’s dental health. Your head spins at all the options the internet presents to you, with you doubting your parental capacities with each looming page.
But hey, that’s normal. There’s always going to be something you don’t know on that journey through parenthood. Fortunately, this isn’t something you have to take alone. When swimming through the bevy of options in the American dental system—particularly for your child’s needs—we’re here to give you a hand.
But how can you ensure your kids’ dental health is on the right track? Jump off some of these child dental care tips:
Your child’s pediatric dentist is your friend
When faced with where to take your child for their first dental visit, your first instinct might be to take them to your general dentist. This isn’t a bad idea, per se—it’s a convenient way to have your family’s dental needs in check. But if your child starts exhibiting fear of the dentist at an early age or might need some extra TLC on their teeth, you might want to head to a pediatric dentist instead. Because they’re trained in handling younger patients, they’ll not only be able to calm your child’s frazzled nerves. They can also help you better your kid’s oral health, as well.
Get ready for those teething pains
Teething is a fact of life, particularly in your tots. While it isn’t supposed to be painful, it can be a source of discomfort and distress to your little ones. This doesn’t have to be the case. There are a bunch of quick ways to lessen your child’s discomfort without having to incur further damage. Examples include giving them something cold to suck on and something they can safely nibble. No sweet stuff, though!
Clean your baby’s teeth regularly
This is probably a no-brainer to some of you. Still, more crucial than periodically cleaning your baby’s teeth is how you clean your baby’s teeth. While their primary teeth haven’t erupted yet, you might opt to swab their gums with a damp, soft cloth to wipe away any pesky sugars. Once their teeth come out, however, you can graduate to a thin lining of low-fluoride toothpaste and a tiny brush for their teeth. Once they’re around 2-3 years of age, you can graduate them to your typical tube of toothpaste.
Breastfeed when you can
Baby bottle tooth decay is something that is very much preventable. As long as you clean after your baby every feeding and make sure they don’t have anything sweet in their bottle when they nap, you should be fine. However, to be sure, breastfeeding is the way to go in these cases. Because the milk bypasses the gums and teeth, there’s less incidence of any nasty tooth decay.