Oral hygiene is important. I don’t think anyone would argue that statement. So what are some guidelines we as parents should follow? The University of Southern California (USC) Dental School and Colgate suggest the following–
- Your child should see a dentist upon eruption of the first tooth–or no later than age one.
- Prior to two years of age, as your child’s teeth erupt, you should brush them with a non-fluoride tooth paste.
- After the age of two, your child should use fluoride tooth paste.
- Have your child clean between his/her teeth with floss. Floss removes plaque from between the teeth and under the gum line, before it hardens to tartar. Once tartar is formed, it can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist.
- Limit starchy or sugary foods in your child’s diet, as these foods produce plaque acids. Plaque acids cause tooth decay. If your child does eat starchy or sugary foods, your child should eat these while eating a meal–not while snacking. The extra saliva produced during a meal helps rinse food from the mouth.
- Make brushing fun. Brush with your child and let your child choose his/her tooth paste and the tooth brush. Flavored tooth paste exists (grape, bubble gum, etc) , as do cartoon inspired brushes.
Have fun with it, because fun learning is forever learning.