We truly feel that a lifetime of smiles and good oral hygiene should begin even before the eruption of the first primary tooth. We put together six children’s oral health facts that may be new to you or possibly just a reminder. Please share these with any parent that you feel may benefit.
1. The 2-2-2 Rule Is A Simple Way To Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy.
This one is very important and in fact, stays true for adults as well. The 2-2-2 rule is basically this:
- Children should visit a dentist twice per year.
- Children should brush and floss at least twice a day (alone or with supervision or help depending on age).
- Children should spend two whole minutes brushing and flossing daily.
2. Proper Oral Hygiene Should Begin Early, Even Before Baby Teeth Arrive.
Even before your baby starts teething, run a clean, damp washcloth over the gums to clear away harmful bacteria.
3. A Child’s First Dental Visit Should Occur After Their First Tooth Erupts.
Dental checkups are encouraged within a baby’s first year. This may seem early, but beginning a prevention plan at this time can help avoid early-onset and future dental problems. Dr. Frank Sierra says, “This initial visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.”
4. Children Have A Set of 20 Milk Teeth.
Primary teeth are also called baby teeth. By age 3 years, there are usually 20 primary teeth. The first tooth eruption is usually between 4 and 15 months of age. If eruption of the first tooth has not occurred by 18 months, the child should be referred to a dentist for evaluation.
5. Bottles Should Only Contain Water During Bed Or Nap Time.
Bottles should only be used with formula, breast milk, or water. Fruit juices, sweet teas, formula, or milk should not be put in a baby’s bottle during bedtime or nap time. At these times, bottles should only contain water. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents should avoid fruit juice for children under one year of age. For more information on that topic click here.
6. Prolonged Thumb Sucking Can Cause Problems.
Sucking is a normal baby reflex. It helps babies feel secure and happy and helps them learn about their world. Dr. Mark Dawoud adds, “Prolonged thumb sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of teeth. It also can cause changes in the roof of the mouth.” Children should be encouraged to discontinue their sucking habits by 4 years of age.
Your children depend on you to provide the proper example, tools, and resources for their oral health. Do learn as much as possible about the development of their teeth and the best ways to maintain a happy and healthy smile. Our pediatric dentists are always happy to help guide you and to give your child more awareness and enthusiasm for their oral hygiene. Visit us on Facebook often for additional facts and blog posts.