To help you build good habits or improve existing ones, our team at Dental Health Associates has put together this guide to oral care for each stage of life.
Babies & Toddlers
Your baby’s early teeth help them learn to eat and speak. They also act as placeholders for their underlying permanent teeth. As soon as your child’s first tooth pops through, begin brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled baby toothbrush and toothpaste. When they have two teeth close together, start flossing. Additionally, schedule their first dental visit around their first birthday.
Children under 3 only need a dab of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice, while children between ages 3-6 can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. You’ll need to brush your child’s teeth when they’re young, but many kids are ready to take over for themselves between ages 6 and 9 with supervision. At the store, let your child pick out their toothpaste flavor and toothbrush to give them more ownership of their oral care. Try playing their favorite song, using a brushing app, or investing in an electric toothbrush to make twice-daily brushing more enjoyable for them.
One of the benefits of establishing a daily brushing habit from early childhood is that by this point, it may be second-nature to brush their teeth twice a day and floss every day! If it isn’t, your teenager would likely benefit from an electric toothbrush, which takes much of the work out of brushing. A water flosser is another helpful tool if they have braces. Encourage your teen to consume a balanced diet, to drink plenty of water, to only chew sugar-free gum, and to wear an athletic mouthguard if they play sports.
Throughout adulthood, continue to brush your teeth twice each day for two minutes each time. That full two minutes is critical – brushing more vigorously in order to finish faster can actually damage your tooth enamel and irritate your gums! Avoid tobacco products. If you experience sensitive teeth, use an anti-sensitivity toothpaste. Pregnant women need to be extra vigilant about their oral care due to hormonal changes, diet, and morning sickness. Your risk of dental disease during your pregnancy can be diminished by scheduling an extra professional dental cleaning, consuming a balanced diet and plenty of water, and rinsing your mouth with baking soda and water after vomiting to normalize its pH level.
As you age, regular dental checkups become even more important. We recommend that our patients visit us every six months so we can treat any minor problems before they develop into major issues.
To ask our team any questions about dental care throughout your life or to schedule an appointment at Dental Health Associates, please contact us today!