A Guide to Children's Dental Health

As a parent, your main job is to ensure your child is healthy and develops good habits for the rest of their lives. One part of that is their dental health. Children's teeth are very different from adults, so a dental routine won't look exactly the same as yours! It's important to know when to start brushing your child's teeth and how to do so to promote the absolute best oral health. 

When Should You Start Brushing Your Child's Teeth?

It's best to begin brushing your child's teeth when the first one comes through, which will be around six months. Their baby teeth will be tiny at first (known as milk teeth), but should still be properly cared for. Let's go into the specifics of dental care at each stage of a kid's life. 

Dental Care from 6 months – 3 years

At this stage, your child's first teeth will come through, and by the time they are three, they will have all their milk teeth. Dental care at this stage should involve brushing your child's teeth twice a day, with one of those times being before bed. You'll need to use a toothpaste that contains around 1,000 ppm of fluoride and brush for two minutes each time. At this stage, you only need to use a tiny amount of toothpaste on the brush, as you don't want your child to swallow any of it. Plus, using too much toothpaste early on – or using one with too much fluoride - can lead to fluorosis, which is a type of discoloration on the teeth. 

Take your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth comes through, too. Your dentist will be able to check on your child's teeth and give you advice on how best to care for their oral health. 

Dental Care from 3-6 Years 

After three years, looking after your children's teeth becomes slightly different. You will still need to brush your little one's teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time, and it's still your responsibility to brush your child's teeth for them, as most kids at this age won't be able to adequately brush their teeth (for example, they might miss the back ones). In terms of toothpaste, use one that contains between 1,000 ppm and 1,500 ppm of fluoride to help strengthen the tooth enamel and protect against dental problems. You'll use more toothpaste than before – now, you can use a pea-sized amount. Just make sure your little one spits out all of the toothpaste after brushing so that they don't swallow any! 

It's important to note that, while the average age that children start to lose their baby teeth is six years old, it could happen earlier, so don't be surprised to discover your little one has a wobbly tooth! It's completely natural and will make way for their adult teeth. If you're worried or have any questions, visit your dentist and discuss it with them. 

Dental Care 7 Years and Above 

Your child will begin losing their baby teeth and growing adult teeth from age seven. At this stage, your child will still need to brush their teeth twice daily for two minutes. They'll need to use toothpaste that contains around 1,500 ppm of fluoride, too. To ensure your child's teeth are healthy, you'll also need to take them to the dentist twice per year. 

When Should Children Brush Their Own Teeth?

You're not going to brush your child's teeth forever, but when should you allow your child to handle the brushing part themselves? As a parent, you'll have a better idea of how capable your child is, but generally, they should begin brushing their teeth at around seven years old. You should still monitor their brushing at this stage to ensure they brush for a solid two minutes. It helps to have an egg timer at the sink to help your child understand what a full two minutes is. 

Helping Your Child Brush Their Teeth 

There are a few good tactics to help show your child how to properly brush their teeth (once they are ready to do so themselves). 

Use Noises

For children, brushing their teeth can seem like a chore, so encourage them by making it fun! Make noises while they are brushing their teeth, such as "ah" when they're reaching for the back ones. 

Guide the Movements 

When it's time for your child to brush their own teeth, help them by guiding the movements. Showing them the exact motions will ensure they know how to do it when the toothbrush is completely in their hands. 

Monitor Them 

You shouldn't just place a toothbrush in your child's hands one day and tell them to brush! You'll need to monitor them for a short while to ensure they are doing it properly. 

Use a Toothbrush They Love

If a child likes their toothbrush, they'll be more encouraged to use it! So, go out and find one that they are drawn to. It's little things like this that will make the teeth-brushing experience a much more enjoyable one for your kid. 

Why is Children's Dental Health So Important?

Children aren't yet responsible for their own health; they require you – the parent or guardian – to show them how to look after themselves. A Child's dental health is important because it promotes good habits that will see them through the rest of their lives. Plus, it will help prevent your child from developing unpleasant dental problems, such as gum disease, toothache, or tooth loss. The better your kid's dental hygiene early on, the better their oral health outlook. 

Final Thoughts

You want your child to have healthy teeth long into adulthood, and that all begins from the moment they grow their first tooth when they are still a baby. It's all about brushing their teeth regularly, instilling good habits, and finding a good dentist who offers pediatric dentistry. Are you looking for a good dentist for your child? If so, we offer excellent pediatric dental care here at BAF Dentistry; we'll ensure your child is comfortable at every appointment.