Did you know that one out of every five preschoolers and half of children ages six to 11 have at least one cavity? How can you prevent your child from undergoing the painful experience of cavities and tooth decay? By getting involved in their oral care routine early and often! Here’s how to keep your child’s smile healthy.

Start Early

As soon as you see your baby’s first teeth, you should make sure that you brush them daily. Use an infant toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in an amount no larger than a grain of rice. You do not want your baby to swallow the toothpaste, but you want to ensure the fluoride is reaching their teeth. Once adjacent infant teeth start to touch, start flossing. Baby teeth can still experience decay or discoloration because of ingredients used in baby formulas. Once your child turns three, you can increase the toothpaste used to a pea-sized amount.

Watch Their Habits

When your child reaches preschool, they should be brushing on their own. However, no child under eight should be left alone while brushing. Parents or guardians need to watch their habits. Are they flossing? Are they brushing for two minutes? Are they reaching the top and bottom teeth? Make sure they’re using enough toothpaste and not swallowing it. If they complain of tooth pain when brushing, visit their dentist for a detailed examination. Instilling good habits early on will help prevent poor habits later.

Make Brushing Fun

Brushing your teeth can feel like a chore, even among adults! Try to make brushing a fun part of your child’s daily routine using games, challenges, and prizes. Reward them with stickers, print out a fun calendar, or use a colorful sand timer. Let your child pick out their toothbrush. Some toothbrushes have cartoon and movie characters on them. Finally, make brushing a bonding experience by brushing with them. You’ll also be setting a good example. (Add even more fun by playing music and turning this bonding experience into a dance party!)

Turn to Healthy Snacks

Sugary foods and sodas are the leading cause of cavities among children. Gummies and juices, favorite snacks among children, can erode tooth enamel and increase the risk of cavities. Encourage your children to eat healthy food instead, like fruits, vegetables, cheese, and plain yogurt. If they do eat sugary drinks or snacks, make sure they learn how to brush and rinse their mouth with water between these meals to clean away sugar.

Visit the Dentist

Visiting the dentist can be scary for young children, which is why we encourage you to start bringing your child to the dentist before they turn three. Regular visits to the dentist help make cleanings a little less scary. Sticking with the same pediatric dentist throughout your child’s early years will also help add familiarity to the process. Your child’s dentist can help reinforce good oral health habits and spot any issues early before they potentially turn into cavities.

Quality Dental Care for Children at Center Valley Dental

Our dentists here at Center Valley Dental are dedicated to keeping your child’s smile healthy. We’ll provide fluoride treatments and preventive resin restorations, in addition to teaching healthy oral hygiene habits your child will hold on to for a lifetime!

But dental care for children isn’t all we provide. We also offer cleanings and fillings for adults and cosmetic dentistry like dental implants and crowns. No matter where you are on your dental journey, our dentists can help you achieve a healthy smile. Contact us to learn more! We’re located only minutes from Bethlehem and Allentown.