8 tips for dental hygiene in young children.

Hello, my name is Caroline Schmidt and I am the Hygiene assistant here at Dr. Cannon’s office in Bountiful, Utah. At our office we are frequently asked “When should I bring my child to the dentist for the first time?”

The American Dental Association (ADA)® recommends a child should see the dentist soon after the first tooth has erupted, but no later than the first birthday. These earliest appointments will primarily involve an exam and instruction on proper dental hygiene for these young teeth. Dr. Cannon then recommends that you bring your child about once a year thereafter so that your child can become used to the idea and happenings of coming to the dentist, and so that Dr. Cannon can evaluate your child’s oral health.  Usually by age 5 we can begin taking x-rays and putting them into a regular twice a year appointment schedule. Below are some helpful tips to help you keep your young child’s teeth in their best possible health between visits.

Basic Tips for Dental Hygiene for Little Ones:
1) Begin washing teeth with a washcloth or Nuk brush as soon as the first tooth erupts.
2) Begin gentle flossing whenever two teeth touch. This isn’t an easy job with little ones so try to make it fun by singing, looking in the mirror, making funny sounds, etc. Small dental floss picks might be easier to use at this time. Even if you don’t have great success with flossing, don’t give up. Every little bit helps.

Dr. Cannon has found that by sitting on the floor with your legs spread out, and your child’s head between your legs, that you can easily lean gently over to floss for your child.  This allows your elbows to remain close to your body, giving you more control of the floss so that it does not snap through tight teeth contacts and hurt the gums.

3) Do not use fluoride toothpaste prior to age 2. Make sure the child knows to spit the toothpaste out instead of swallowing it.
4) NEVER put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice.  These fluids will quickly form cavities on your baby’s teeth!
5) Remember candy and sweets aren’t the only foods that can cause decay. Limit the use of fruit juices and sticky foods such as cereal bars which can stay on teeth for long periods of time.
6) Children will need help brushing their teeth for the first several years and may need reminders to brush and floss throughout their childhoods.
7) Try having an older child brush or floss at the same time you are helping your younger child to do the same. This positive modeling may help to keep the child interested.
8) Prolonged use of sippy cups can cause damage to the front teeth. Try using no-spill cups with straws when your child is not ready for an open cup. This will allow the liquid to go back further into the mouth instead of first hitting the front teeth with every sip.

We’re happy to meet any new patients, especially your cute children. If you’d like to schedule an appointment please call our office (801) 292-3501, our  office location is 535 East 500 South in Bountiful, Utah. We look forward to speaking and or meeting with you soon.

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