Oral Health Care for Kids: An Age-by-Age Guide

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We at Kidsmile believe that kids with established good oral health care early on in their lives carry this good habit into adulthood. That is why it is important that parents are also well-informed and equipped in helping their kids achieve the best oral health care as they grow. To help you get started on, or further strengthen this good practice together with your kids, we have prepared a quick, age-by-age guide:

4 – 24 months

Dentists believe that good oral care starts even before your child’s teeth appear. For infants, after every feeding, wipe your baby’s gums with a soft, damp washcloth. When your child’s first tooth erupts, start brushing his or her teeth twice a day for two minutes each time. This will help prevent the build-up of sugar and plaque in your child’s mouth. As your child grows and begins to have more teeth, change the washcloth use to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush instead, with a pea-sized dab of kids’ toothpaste. A visit to the pediatric dentist is also a must on or before your child’s first birthday. This is key in establishing regular dental visits. You need to partner with your child’s dentist in ensuring your child’s proper dental development.

2 – 4 years old

When your child reaches 2, you can start using fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay. Start letting your child brush his or her own teeth too. However, make sure that you brush them again when your child is done for thorough cleaning and flossing. Be creative in encouraging your child and make the habit a fun-filled one. Perhaps make it a quick storytelling time or have a mini-game of a treasure hunt. Using a themed or musical toothbrush will also help in making this routine enjoyable for your child. Parents also need to know the importance of nutrition and good eating habits in your child’s overall dental health. Limit your child’s intake of sweets and sugary drinks, weaning from bottle feeding and offering healthy snacks will come a long way.

5 – 7 years old

While we want your kids to learn how to brush their teeth independently, the reality is, they do not have the proper skill in thoroughly cleaning their teeth until they are about 7 years old. Until then, you need to assist your child in brushing and flossing his or her teeth. Establishing a daily routine with a regular schedule and time also will help. Consider making morning and evening tooth brushing and flossing a family time and brush your teeth together with your kids. This is also the age when your child will get his or her permanent molars. Hence, make sure you use a fluoridated toothpaste as well.

8 years old and up

Good eating habits are also important as part of your child’s oral health care. Just like brushing, try to make healthy eating a family thing. Be an example to your child by eating healthy and nutritious food yourself. Coupled with healthy eating, regularly following a tooth brushing and flossing routine, twice a day will strengthen the disciple. Your child, for sure, will notice and adapt it too. As your child grows and goes to school, he or she will be exposed to different kinds of food and snacks during the day. But if your child knows what is best in order to have healthy teeth, he or she will refrain or at try to lessen eating junk foods and having sugary drinks as well.

For kids at this age, the use of fluoridated toothpaste is a must. During your regular dental visits, the pediatric dentist will also able to help you in taking care of your child’s teeth.

Establishing a healthy oral routine while making it fun is a surefire way in equipping your kids to have a good oral health and overall quality of life as they grow up. Know the tips and tricks on what works best for your kids and your family. When the time comes, your kids will surely thank you for teaching them the value of taking care of their teeth and overall oral health.

Sources:

https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/childrens-oral-health/index.html

https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/kids/kids-oral-care-dental-hygiene-tips

https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/infant-kids/how-to-encourage-oral-health-care-for-kids-0714

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