The 3 Week Diet

Dental Health Tips for Parents: From Teething to Toothbrushing

What am I supposed to do when my baby starts teething?

 

Or, when should I schedule my child’s first pediatric dental appointment?

 

And, how in the world can I make toothbrushing a fun activity for my child?

 

These are just a few of the questions parents may have about their child’s dental health. After all, it’s important for parents to appreciate the connection between their child’s preventive dental care and oral health, and, its relationship to long-term health and well-being.

 

Unfortunately, 47 percent of parents surveyed have not spoken to their pediatrician about their child’s teeth, according to a 2012 MetLife Study.

 

To help parents protect their child’s teeth early in life, here are some dental health tips to consider when your toddler is teething, when the time comes for the first visit to a pediatric dentist and proper toothbrushing techniques to practice with your kids.

 

Teething Tips and Tricks

Babies can start teething as young as three months old. And, unfortunately, teething won’t end when that first tooth pops out—it can last for the first few years of your child’s life.

 

To help make the inevitable easier on your baby, the Mayo Clinic suggests using a clean finger, moistened gauze pad or damp washcloth to massage your baby’s gums. The pressure can ease your baby’s discomfort.

 

In addition, to prevent skin irritation from excessive drooling during the teething process, keep a clean cloth handy to dry your baby’s chin. You might also want to make sure your baby sleeps on an absorbent sheet.

 

What to Discuss at Your Child’s First Trip to the Dentist

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child should go to the first dentist visit by his or her first birthday.

 

If you think that’s too early, consider this: Kids can get cavities as early as age 2.

 

To help you prepare for your child’s first dental visit, here’s what you can expect to discuss with a pediatric dentist:

 

·         How to best care for your child’s dental hygiene

·         Mouth habits, such as thumb-sucking

·         The use of fluoride

·         Teething and milestones in tooth development

·         How your child’s diet relates to his or her oral health

·         Establishing a routine in dental visits

 

Also, don’t forget to bring the necessary medical and dental insurance information to your child’s first dental appointment.

 

Toothbrushing Techniques and Fun Tips for Kids

Educating your children on the importance of toothbrushing can help taking care of their dental health become a good habit throughout their lives.

 

Most children gain their permanent teeth by age 6. But even before then, and after, parents can help their children brush their teeth properly.  

 

Here are six techniques you can share with your children from Colgate’s Oral and Dental Health Resource Center:

 

·         Use a pea-sized dab of an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Make sure that your children do not swallow the toothpaste.

·         Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush the inside surface of each tooth first, where plaque may accumulate most. Brush gently back and forth.

·         Clean the outer surfaces of each tooth. Angle the brush along the outer gum line. Gently brush back and forth.

·         Brush the chewing surface of each tooth. Gently brush back and forth.

·         Use the tip of the brush to clean behind each front tooth, both top and bottom.

·         It’s always fun to brush the tongue!

 

You can also find ways to make toothbrushing fun for your kids. Like Risa Steinman, an enrollment specialist at DentalPlans.com, who gives her two girls three different toothbrushes to choose from when it comes time to brush.

 

This article was written by DentalPlans.com, where individuals, families and groups can search and compare more than 30 of the leading discount dental plans available at more than 100,000 dentists nationwide.

 

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