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5 Important Ways To Keep Your Child's Teeth Healthy

Did you know that babies are born with all of their primary (baby) teeth hidden below their gums? As they get older, teeth begin erupting until all 20 teeth have emerged around age 3.

Kids might not keep their baby teeth forever, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important to care for those primary teeth. In fact, babies as young as six months old can suffer decay and cavities.

At Morita Dental in Cupertino, California, Kohei Morita, DDS and our team specialize in pediatric dentistry. We understand that caring for your child’s teeth isn’t the same as caring for your own, and we’re here to help. Let these tips guide you in establishing good oral hygiene habits early on, to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

1. Schedule a dentist appointment before their first birthday

Most babies get their first tooth when they’re about six months old. Taking your child to the dentist after they get their first tooth and before their first birthday is one of the best things you can do to keep teeth healthy from the start.

Your child’s first appointment gives the dentist the opportunity to examine their mouth, gums, and any exposed teeth. You’ll get helpful tips about proper brushing and flossing, as well as what to expect as your child grows.

Taking your child to the dentist around their first birthday and maintaining regular appointments helps them get used to going to the dentist, so they’re less likely to develop anxiety about dental care later on.

2. Establish strong oral hygiene habits at home

Healthy oral hygiene habits start even before your baby’s first tooth appears. After feeding, use a clean, damp washcloth to wipe away any harmful bacteria from the surface of their gums. Stop night feeding as early as possible, and don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle.

As your child gets older, make brushing their teeth a priority. Brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and begin flossing as soon as your child has two teeth that touch each other.

3. Supervise tooth-brushing and flossing

When your child is still a baby, you’ll need to brush and floss their teeth for them. Use an infant toothbrush and a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) to brush all exposed teeth.

Kids can start taking a more active role in oral hygiene as they grow. Around age 2, your toddler should learn to spit after brushing. Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for toddlers and young children.

Every child is different, but we generally recommend supervising tooth brushing and flossing until your child is at least 8. Supervision helps instill healthy tooth-brushing habits and avoid the swallowing of toothpaste.

4. Consider fluoride treatments and sealants

Fluoride gives teeth extra strength to resist acid and decay. Getting fluoride from toothpaste helps keep enamel strong, but it isn’t always enough to protect teeth. Talk to our team about special fluoride treatments to boost fluoride and protect your child’s teeth.

Sealants are another preventive option for kids. Getting a sealant on back teeth (molars) can protect both primary and permanent teeth from excess bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Sealants may help reduce cavities in hard-to-reach spots, but they aren’t a replacement for strong oral hygiene.   

5. Keep up with regular dentist appointments as they grow

Everyone, including kids, should get dental cleanings every six months. At Morita Dental, our team reviews your child’s health history, performs an oral exam, and removes harmful plaque and tartar with a professional cleaning. 

Regular appointments allow us to identify any potential issues as your child grows and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. If a cavity is identified, we can treat it with dental fillings. Once permanent teeth are in, we may recommend orthodontic treatment, like Invisalign®, to align teeth and improve bite function.

Partner with our team at Morita Dental to give your child their healthiest smile at every age. Call us at 408-775-7770, or request an appointment online to get started.

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