A child’s oral health is defined from a very young age. Did you know that tooth decay can develop at any time? This means oral health issues can begin with the very first tooth, which could be as young as 6 months old. “Your child’s teeth are very delicate,” says Dr. Maryam Adibfar, a leading Toronto dentist. “That’s why it’s so important to start good oral health habits as early as possible.”
It’s been found in many studies that more parents than not would say their children’s oral health isn’t as good as it could be. It’s also been found that while many parents understand that dental health habits – more so than genetics or even diet – are more important when it forms to their oral health, an overwhelming number say their children don’t brush twice a day or floss daily.
“If poor dental health habits are established early on, it can have a big impact on a child’s long term oral health,” says Dr. Adibfar. “This is especially true if poor habits are established before the child can even brush or floss their own teeth.”
Baby Teeth Aren’t “Freebies”
Sometimes people think baby teeth don’t need a lot of attention because they will just end up falling out. As soon as your child gets their first tooth, brushing should begin. “We recommend brushing their tooth or teeth with a soft children’s toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day until they turn two,” says Dr. Adibfar. “Between 2 and 6, we recommend a small amount of toothpaste on a regular basis.”
Even before that first tooth appears, our dental team recommends wiping the mouth and gums with a damp cloth to keep their mouth clean between feedings.
Poor or inadequate oral health care habits established at a young age have led to far too many children developing issues like cavities. Since these habits set the foundation for their future, it’s incredibly important to start building good behaviours and routines as early as possible.
Smart Oral Health Habits for Healthy Teeth and Gums
Good oral health habits aren’t difficult to establish. It just takes time, education and consistency. Here are a few smart habits you should begin developing with your child early so they have healthy smiles for years to come:
1 As soon as two teeth begin touching, you should start flossing at least once a day. You should floss for them until they are old enough to take on this responsibility.
2 Limit the trader of saliva wherever possible. While cleaning a pacifier with your own mouth may see sanitary and easy, it can pass on harmful bacteria. Try limiting saliva-transferring behaviours like sharing utensils and toothbrushes.
3 Begin taking your child to the dentist every six months after getting their first tooth. We often recommend no later than their first birthday. This important activity and habit will be critical to their oral health for decades to come. It also helps getting them comfortable with a dentist if they are exposed to that environment early and often. “Regular dental checkups provide the opportunity to address potential oral health issues early,” says Dr. Adibfar. “It can also help reaffirm the habits you’ve been teaching them.”
Do you have questions about how to keep your teeth healthy or want to schedule check-up, teeth cleaning or routine exam? Contact us directly!Our team looks forward to seeing you.
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