Oral Health & Dental Hygiene for Kids

Every child deserves a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts for years to come. That’s why it’s important for children to practice good oral hygiene habits and maintain a positive attitude toward brushing, flossing—and visiting us!

Kids Dental Care

Establishing a strong oral hygiene routine begins in early childhood. Parents, it’s up to you to demonstrate proper oral hygiene and support your child in developing a healthy foundation for a beautiful set of teeth to emerge.

Dental Care for Infants

Typically, the baby teeth will begin to emerge around 6 months. Although, oral care should begin during infancy, before the first tooth has broken through the gums. It’s important that your child establishes strong gums to support healthy teeth as they erupt. 

To care for your baby’s gums, gently wipe them with a soft washcloth after feeding to remove any bacteria left on the gums. (Leftover bacteria can lead to tooth decay.)

Once the baby teeth have started to emerge through the gums, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush the tooth (or teeth) twice a day. Apply a tiny amount of toothpaste, equivalent to about the size of a grain of rice.

After your baby is done feeding, be sure to remove the bottle to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. This can occur when a baby keeps the bottle in their mouth for too long or falls asleep with the bottle in their mouth, and bacteria starts to grow. 

Your baby’s first dental appointment should be scheduled right before their first birthday, or within six months of their first tooth erupting.

Dental Care for Children/Toddlers

By about 3 years old, your child should have all of his or her baby teeth! This is when you’ll switch to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.

Make sure that your child brushes his or her teeth twice a day and is spitting out the toothpaste after brushing. Discuss the importance of not swallowing toothpaste with your child.

Your child should brush his or her teeth twice a day, for two minutes at a time. During these younger years, there may be gaps or spacing between the teeth. This is completely normal! The mouth is preparing for more teeth to join and fill in the gaps. 

Once your child’s teeth are touching, it’s important that he or she starts flossing. Flossing is essential for removing plaque and bacteria buildup from between the teeth and at the gumline. 

Teach your child how to brush all surfaces of his or her teeth, including the back, front and chewing surfaces.

Schedule a dental check-up with us every 6 months, or as often as your child’s dentist tells you!

Dental Care for Preteens

As children continue to grow and they have more freedom in their habits and food choices, it’s essential that they’re brushing their teeth twice daily and flossing every night. 

Discuss the importance of maintaining healthy teeth with your child. Show him or her how beautiful their teeth can look when they’re cared for properly. 

During the preteen years, children are likely eating more sugar and sneaking their hands in the cookie jar. Using a fluoride toothpaste is key for preventing cavities and strengthening the enamel!

Teach your child how to brush his or her tongue to promote fresh breath. If they play sports, it’s critical that your child wears a mouthguard to provide a barrier between the teeth and potential impact! Mouthguards can save teeth, protect the gums, and protect other players from damage upon collision.

Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings for Your Child

Your at-home oral hygiene routine can only do so much! Receiving regular, professional dental cleanings is necessary for removing tartar and hardened plaque that can lead to cavities (tooth decay) or gum disease. 

It’s up to parents to teach proper dental care for children. Teaching your child a strong dental care routine in the early years can lead to a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles. We’re here to support you throughout your child’s development! 

Our experienced team is led by Dr. Frank Sierra, who has more than 25 years of experience providing compassionate, expert care for children and teens in our communities. We are proud to be a top dental clinic for kids in and around Tampa Bay and Bradenton

Schedule your baby’s first appointment, or your child’s next cleaning with us today.

Still have questions about dental hygiene?

We’re here to answer your questions, and we want you and your child to know your options! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any time. 

Dr. Sierra, Dr. KwonDr. Pettit and our team are here to help guide you and your child. We offer kinder, gentler dentistry for kids and teens. It is our goal that your child develops and maintains a positive association with dental care and we do everything we can to create a pleasant, supportive, and fun environment for our little patients.

Ready to schedule an appointment? Let’s get started. Visit us in Town & Country, South Tampa, North Tampa or Bradenton!