Dr. Helaine Smith and Dr. Shili Feng are excited to welcome more and more young families to Pound Ridge and the surrounding areas. Dr. Feng, who is a mother of two young children, knows the struggles when it comes to at-home oral hygiene, and would like to share some of her oral care routines and tips.
Brushing and Flossing
Before your child has teeth, you can use a wet washcloth or silicone finger toothbrush to massage the gums. Once teeth are visible, use a rice size toothpaste on a soft bristle toothbrush.
Make brushing a routine
Just like everything else, children like structure. Children will want to brush and floss once it is part of the routine.
Lift the upper lip gently and try to block the frenum from being brushed against.
Retract the lip, you can use the back of the toothbrush to block the tongue.
You can use regular dental floss or kid flossers, whichever is easier for you. Remember to set realistic goals. It is hard, but introduce the concept early, and your child will accept the floss. We recommend daily flossing once the adjacent teeth are in contact to prevent in-between cavities.
Make it fun!
A lot of times brushing can be a power struggle, especially when they are less than one year old. A good way to approach it is to make it fun, for example singing their favorite songs, counting numbers, and/or making funny noises. It is always a good idea to give positive reinforcement.
Lead by example! It can be fun for young children to have brushing/flossing sessions with mom or dad. You can bound by getting the sugar bugs out. For young children, a grown-up should always supervise brushing. You can let the child brush first, then take over and brush again to make sure all the “bugs” are out.
We recommend brushing 2 times a day for 2 minutes each time, but realistically, at a young age, 2 times a day will make any dentist happy.
Sugar and Cavities
Make water your child’s favorite drink! Water washes away food particles and helps neutralize the acidity after eating.
The AAP recommends cow’s milk (whole for under 2 and skim or low fat for over 2). It is better to drink milk in an open cup. Try not to put milk in bottles and avoid putting your child to sleep with bottled milk. Baby bottle decay is scary but definitely preventable.
Juice, soda - All of these drinks contain lots of sugar in addition to acidity, which weakens the enamel and causes cavities. They have little nutrition and are packed with calories.
Bottle to Cup
The goal is to wean bottles by 12-18 months. Prolonged use of bottles and sippy cups can actually misshape the oral cavity, causing problems in speech, airway, sleep quality, and jaw and maxilla development. Instead, it is recommended to use an open cup when possible, and you can start as early as 6 months of age.
First Dental Visit
The ADA and AAP recommend that the first dental visit should occur within six months after the baby's first tooth appears, but no later than the child's first birthday. At Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry, during your child’s first-ever dental appointment, we want your child to explore the dental setting. The chair that tilts back is pretty cool. Just as important as the checkup, we will be reviewing your child’s oral hygiene routine with you and give you our recommendations.
Routine Dental Visit
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling regular dental checkups, with the most common interval being every six months.
At Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry, we would love to be part of you and your children’s dental home and we thank you for trusting us to be your dental care providers.
Tethered Oral Tissue
7 week old soundly sleeping after quick and easy laser procedure to release tethered oral tissue.
American Dental Association
The American Academy of Pediatrics
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
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