Three Stages of Hygiene to Protect Your Child from Cavities

It is never too early to encourage healthy dental hygiene for your child. Their teeth are at risk of cavities, also known as tooth decay, as soon as they first erupt. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cavities in children is the most common chronic children’s disease in the country. In severe cases, tooth decay can result in tooth loss. However, dental cavities are preventable no matter what age you are, but it all starts by establishing good oral hygiene habits.

As your child goes through their stages of oral development, you should establish oral hygiene habits to prevent cavities from forming. Here are the three stages of your child’s oral hygiene in order by age:

Stage 1 (4-24 months old)

To prevent the build-up of plaque that accumulates on your child’s teeth, begin by regularly cleaning your newborn baby’s gums with a damp washcloth after all feedings.

When your baby’s first tooth appears, you should brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day using a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and only a pea-sized amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste.

It is recommended that your child have their first visit with the dentist by their first birthday. Regular visits should be scheduled every six months after to ensure proper tooth development and maintain good oral hygiene habits as they get older.

Stage 2 (2-4 years old)

Children ages two and older should use fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent cavities as their teeth continue to develop. It is recommended that at this stage, frequent encouragement of brushing their own teeth will establish a healthy daily oral routine. It is important to supervise your child’s brushing until good habits are established. Make sure to do a quick check and brush again, if the teeth are not fully clean.

If your child resists brushing their teeth brushed, you can make it more fun and creative by having your child “look for treasure” behind and in between teeth, play music, and get a toothbrush with their favorite cartoon character on it. You can also brush your teeth with your child to set a good example.

It is recommended that you focus on the teeth that are used to do most of the chewing, including back teeth, where cavities often develop first.

Stage 3 (5-7 years old)

Until your child develops manual dexterity and can brush their teeth by themselves, continue to help your child’s oral routine habits. Let them “do it themselves” first, and then double check that the teeth are clean. Most children have regular daily routines; try making morning and evening tooth brushing and flossing a family event by doing it together. At this age, your child should start getting their permanent molars, so it is important to use a fluoridated toothpaste for healthy oral development.

At Advanced Children’s Dentistry, your Garden City Pediatric Dentist, we want to make sure you and your family understand the different stages of your child’s oral hygiene. It is important to establish regular oral hygiene habits at an early age. Schedule your child’s dental appointment with Dr. Sybil at (516) 758 – KIDS.

Advanced Children’s Dentistry is proud to serve the surrounding cities: Mineola, Hempstead, West Hempstead, Franklin Square, Uniondale, New Hyde Park, Westbury, North New Hyde Park, Roosevelt, North Merrick, Roslyn, Carle Place, Williston Park, Old Westbury, Albertson, East Meadow, Garden City Park, Floral Park, East Garden City and many more.

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