Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

May 29, 2024

Your Child’s Pearly Whites

It’s Children’s Dental Health Month and a great time to brush up on practical tips for top-notch dental hygiene.


first teeth …

  • Clean your baby’s gums even before the first teeth come in – The permanent teeth will go into the same socket as the baby teeth, so in order to maximize the teeth’s health, gently clean your baby’s gums off after each meal with a warm, wet washcloth.
  • Don’t put your baby to bed with a bottle – It’s notorious for causing cavities.
  • Watch for cavities – The first sign of decay is discoloration or “pitting.”
  • When you introduce Baby to solid foods, introduce toothbrushing, too – Gently cup his chin with your hand as you clean with an infant brush. Use water or bicarbonate of soda until he’s 2, then use a pea-size amount of toothpaste.

first dentist visit

While the American Dental Association recommends Baby get his first dental exam at age 1, most pediatricians say it’s OK to wait until age 3 – as long as you practice good home care.

  • Locate a child-friendly dentist – Then schedule an appointment for your child.
  • Prep your child – Introduce your child to the dentist you’ve selected and stay with your child if he wants you to. Many dentists will let your child sit on your lap if he’s jittery.
  • Listen and nod – When the dentist chats with your child about brushing and drinking water for good dental health, be a part of the positivity so your child will learn.
  • Examination – A good dentist will explain everything to your child at his level and work to make it as pleasant as possible. When cleaning your child’s teeth, the dentist will use a rotary brush and show your little one how to spit. If at any time your child becomes upset, the dentist should stop and allow you to comfort your child.
  • Time for a prize – A fun token goes a long way toward helping your child think the dentist is great.

good home care

Help your child to brush after breakfast and before bedtime – The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says children under 8 years old need periodic supervision.

  • Use a soft toothbrush – And replace it every three months.
  • Make sure your water is fluoridated – Dentists recommend kids and adults use tap water for brushing as opposed to filtered water. If your water is not fluoridated talk to your dentist about fluoride treatments for your child.
  • Build awareness of sugary snacks – Let your child know that sweet treats like to hurt the teeth … and that they should be kept to a minimum for shiny, healthy teeth.
  • Try to curtail thumb sucking – It can lead to tooth misalignment.

About the Author