A Parent’s Guide to Kids’ Dental Care

Aug 03, 2022

A Parent’s Guide to Kids’ Dental Care

Feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions you have to make as a parent? You’re not alone. Only 12% of parents actually feel prepared, especially when they first get started. 

That’s why we make educating parents a top priority. 

Here, our team of experienced and compassionate dentists at Lifetime Dental Care in Woodbridge, Virginia, takes a bit of the guesswork out of your child’s oral health journey, so you can focus on what matters: equipping your child with lifelong healthy habits.

Take a closer look at a few ins and outs of childhood dental care.

Dental care begins before a tooth appears

You read that right. Good dental care begins long before the teething stage. That’s because the teeth, even though you can’t see them, have been lurking below the gums since the second trimester of pregnancy. Before you start to see teeth, make a habit of rubbing a clean, damp washcloth over your baby’s gums to clear away bacteria. 

Brushing and flossing start early

Once your baby finally gets their teeth, it’s time to invest in an infant toothbrush. All it takes is a small amount of fluoride toothpaste and a little diligence to get their teeth squeaky clean. Also, pay attention to how their teeth grow because once two of your baby’s teeth touch, you should begin flossing between them regularly.

We also recommend that you supervise your child’s oral hygiene routine until age 8 and keep them from swallowing too much toothpaste.

Cavities can happen at any time

You may not realize it, but even babies can get cavities. This usually happens when babies are put to sleep with a bottle. The sugars from formula or milk stay on their teeth for hours and gradually eat away at the enamel, which can lead to “bottle mouth.” As a result, your child’s front teeth can become discolored, pocked, and pitted. In the most severe cases, we may need to pull your child’s tooth. 

It’s also important to know that if you’re more prone to tooth decay and disease, chances are your child is, too, even if they practice consistent oral hygiene. 

The best ways to keep cavities away are to establish healthy habits early, use fluoride regularly, and limit your child’s consumption of sugary foods and drinks. Talk to us about how dental sealants can provide an added barrier of protection against cavities.

Their bite matters, too

We also encourage you to keep an eye on your child’s bite and the straightness of their teeth. Problems with either can quickly become a problem down the line and may require orthodontic treatment. 

Schedule an appointment with us by the first birthday

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children see a dentist once their first tooth comes in (usually around the 6-month mark). During the first exam, we cover all the basics of dental care, and most importantly, get your child used to a dentist’s office. 

We specialize in pediatric dentistry and have years of experience in keeping you and your child comfortable while we examine their oral health. Depending on your child’s needs, we may recommend that they see us once every 3-6 months. 

Have more questions? Ready to schedule your child’s first appointment? We’d love to talk with you. Call or click to schedule an appointment at our office today.