There’s really no time that’s too early to start encouraging good dental habits for your kids. Starting your kids early on good dental hygiene can prevent pain, damage, and embarrassment for them later in life. Habits are easier to form younger than to force on your kids in more rebellious phases in life.

Modeling and teaching good oral health practices from an early age helps with maintaining a healthy mouth for life.

From keeping an eye for warning signs to ensuring you’re doing the right things at the right time, it’s not too difficult to set up good dental practices as long as you know what to encourage. Dental health needs to start early for your child and gradually grow with time and age.

Below are some examples of ways to encourage good dental health early and the importance of doing so for your children.

First Tooth

Though you can clean your child’s gum with fluoride before the first tooth comes in, that milestone is when you want to make their first dental appointment by, if not sooner. Baby teeth are important: the hold space and encourage strong root growth for your child’s permanent teeth. So when that first tooth comes in, make sure to make a dental appointment for your child. If they’re a year old with no teeth yet, that’s also a good time to make an appointment.

Early Practices

As many as 50% of children ages 12 and under have some sort of tooth decay already. You’ll want to encourage your child to brush at least twice a day when you move onto the brushing phase. In addition, you’ll want to encourage a healthy diet–low sugar and monitor what can be harmful to enamel. This is also a good time to discourage sugary drinks, which will be harder to wean them off later in life.

Things to Watch For

Children won’t always be up front about any ailments they have. You’ll want to make sure you’re being vigilant with them and the signs of pain. Look for inflamed or bleeding gums, which may be a sign of gum disease and can lead to infection, any problems in chewing or swallowing, any strange behaviors while sleeping (such as teeth grinding), and shyness while talking or smiling.

Related Questions

When Should Dental Hygiene Start?

This is a good question. We said it’s never too early, and it really isn’t, but if you’re looking for hard dates 18 months tends to be when things start to get important and by 30 months all the temporary teeth should be in. But until those points, you can also gently wash your child’s gums with a small amount of fluoride or a washcloth with water. But, to start a full regiment of brushing and dental visits, 18 months or the first tooth is usually the starting point.

Will a Pacifier Affect My Child’s Dental Health?

At a certain age, your child should no longer be using a pacifier. By age 2 your child should not be on the pacifier and should be actively discouraged from thumb sucking. It may seem impossible to do, however the dental benefits far outweigh the ramifications of thumb sucking and pacifiers passed the age of 2 yrs. It’s also important that, during pacifier use, not to dip the pacifier in any sort of sugar or sweet liquid for your child. This can damage delicate new teeth.

Early dental health is very important and can ensure that your child has a lifetime of great smiles and smart dental practices. Consult with your dentist about best practices and when to start your child on dental practices.

At our dental office in Walled Lake, our skilled and “kid-focused” approach to children’s dentistry is something you and your children can feel good about. Dr. Hechtman and his staff are always on the lookout for cavities and other oral concerns to ensure the proper development towards good overall hygiene. If you want to build the foundation for a healthy smile call our Walled Lake dental office today!