Good dental hygiene starts early. Below are some practical tips for Dr. Hinze on how to establish good dental habits in your children, how to ease teething pain and how to encourage an overall healthy mouth.
1. Start Brushing When the First Tooth Appears.
Dr. Hinze recommends encouraging infants to use a teething ring with a brush to get started on good dental habits early.
That first bottom tooth will erupt when the child is about 6 months old, and that’s when good brushing habits should begin.
Parents are encouraged to brush their teeth in front of their children to model good habits.
“It’s so important to take good care of those primary teeth because they maintain space between the teeth and help youngsters learn to chew and swallow properly,” Dr. Hinze said.
If primary teeth become decayed, that often results in crooked teeth later.
2. Use a Toothpaste with Fluoride.
It’s OK to use a small dab of toothpaste for young children and infants. Dr. Hinze said pediatric toothpaste is recommended, especially for children who don’t like the taste of regular toothpaste.
But, whatever toothpaste is used, look for one with fluoride. Dr. Hinze said the fluoride gives the tooth extra protection against decay. And while some perceive fluoride as making teeth brittle and prone to breaking, Dr. Hinze said he sees more decayed than broken teeth in young children making fluoride use the winner.
3. Visit the Dentist at Age 1.
Dr. Hinze said it’s recommended to schedule your child’s first dental visit at age 1. That first appointment is a preventative visit to ensure the teeth are coming in correctly and to check the tongue and swallowing functions.
Regular visits to the dentist should be scheduled at about age 3. That is when the first cleaning and official check-up will take place. Dr. Hinze recommends having children watch their parents go to the dentist to prepare them for the visit. And, tell the child he or she will get to pick out a new toothbrush to encourage excitement.
4. Avoid Sugar.
“Never give a kid sugar,” Dr. Hinze said. “Cut out all sugar. It absolutely has no value whatsoever.”
While that may seem like impossible advice, it is important to limit sugar intake.
And, after meals or snacks, Dr. Hinze encourages children and patients of any age to rinse the mouth with water. That helps wash away at least some of the decay-causing bacteria until brushing can take place.
5. Control Pain With A Cold Teething Ring.
The teething process can be painful for children. It takes about 4-6 months for a tooth to fully grow in, and it’s painful for children during those first few weeks when the tooth “erupts” from the gum. The most painful tooth is likely the second primary molars that come in around age 2.
The teething process can even result in children getting sick because it disrupts their eating and sleeping.
Dr. Hinze recommends a teething ring to help ease the pain. Place the teething ring in the freezer to make it even more effective.
When you are ready to schedule your child’s first dental appointment, give us a call at (308) 995-5331. We are always accepting new patients.