The first little primary teeth surface when your child is only a few months old. It may seem as though these teeth are not important. However, they are placeholders for the permanent teeth that will eventually erupt. In addition, if they become decayed, the decay can travel below the surface of the gums and affect the teeth that have not emerged. In severe cases, even the jawbone can be affected. Here are a few ways to help keep your child's mouth free of decay:
Brush with your little one.
Verbally instructing your child to brush properly is sometimes not enough to ensure that your youngster's teeth are being brushed effectively. By making brushing a family activity, you get a chance to observe your child's brushing techniques and correct flaws that could result in decay.
Encourage tiny circles.
Your child should be brushing using small circular motions to help ensure that most of the surface area of his or her teeth are appropriately cleaned. If you are not confident that your child can achieve this manually, an electric toothbrush may be more suitable.
Use fluoride paste.
In addition, your child should use fluoride toothpaste once he or she is old enough to use the paste without swallowing. The fluoride helps to remineralize and harden the teeth to discourage cavity formation.
Select mildly flavored toothpaste.
Whatever toothpaste you select should have a kid-approved flavor. Most minty adult toothpastes are too strongly flavored for a child, and no youngster wants the painful sensation of a burning mouth each time his or her teeth are brushed.
Set your timer.
Your child should also be brushing for at least two minutes twice a day. It can be fun and encouraging to use a timer as you and your little one brush together. You can even offer your youngster a small reward for brushing until the alarm rings.
Offer your little one gum.
If your child is old enough to chew gum without swallowing it, gum can be an effective adjunct to his or her oral health regimen. Most kids chew gum because of the flavor, so it will probably not be difficult to get your youngster to comply.
Offer a piece of sugarless gum after meals and snacks. The gum encourages saliva production to wash away bacteria and plaque. In addition, the sticky consistency helps gum clean your child's teeth by adhering to the plaque, bacteria and food debris in your child's mouth. Cinnamon-flavored gum or gum that contains xylitol is especially beneficial because of the anti-bacterial properties offered.
To learn more ways to protect your child's teeth from decay, visit a pediatric dentist in your area, such as Apollo Dental Center.