We know, it can feel overwhelming to be responsible for someone else’s oral health. Especially when that someone is your little one!
With so many mixed messages out there about children's oral health, how do you figure out what’s best for your child’s teeth?
Our advice: go straight to the professionals. But when you do, make sure you’re prepared with a strong understanding of the basics. That way, you can make informed, empowered decisions on behalf of your little one.
Don’t worry, that’s exactly what we’re here to help you with. Read on to discover some important details about kids oral care. After all, when you feel more confident and comfortable at the pediatric dentist, your child can learn to feel the same way, too.
1: what should we expect during our first few visits?
We recommend reaching out to your local dentist’s office to discuss what to expect before you head in for your little one’s first appointment. But we’ve also outlined some general info on what to expect below.
- first visit: the first visit should happen 6 months after the first tooth has come in, or by 12 months at the latest. Depending on your child’s age, the dentist might examine the jaw, bite, gums, and teeth to assess development. They might even perform a gentle cleaning!
- second visit: this should happen 6 months after the first visit. Frequent visits not only allow you to catch developmental issues...they can also help your child build comfort at the dentist. Your dentist will likely give tips and product recommendations for your child here.
As you continue the trend of visits every 6 months, your dentist may recommend X-rays depending on your child’s age and individual tooth development.
2: do baby teeth really matter?
Absolutely! It’s tempting to think, “they don’t matter; they’re just going to fall out anyways.” But this way of thinking can really hinder your kids oral health in the long run.
Healthy baby teeth lay a healthy foundation for long-term oral health. Not only do healthy baby teeth help your child with chewing and talking, but they give your child a better chance of growing strong and healthy permanent teeth later on.
If your child’s teeth are compromised, the resulting bacteria and organisms can actually harm the permanent tooth that’s growing beneath it. Not to mention, if a baby tooth decays, it can fall out too early. This can lead to crooked or damaged adult teeth.
3: what’s the best way to establish habits that promote my kids oral health?
Our first piece of advice is to lead by example. Model great oral care behavior by taking great care of your own oral and holistic health.
Remember that plaque can begin to accumulate at any age, so you’ll want to clean your child’s teeth as they come in. Some dentists may recommend rubbing a dental wipe or wet cloth on your child’s teeth before bedtime.
When they’re old enough to hold the toothbrush themselves, make oral care a fun family ritual that you do together. One of the best ways to build good habits is to make it fun! Be sure to check out our strawberry watermelon natural toothpaste for kids + adults. It’s the perfect fun flavor that you and your little one(s) can enjoy together.
We also recommend explaining the importance of each oral care habit, so your child begins to understand why they’re doing these things every single day.
On top of that, we encourage you to ask your pediatric dentist or hygienist to show your child how to brush their teeth! They’re experienced in teaching little ones how to get the hang of it, and simply asking can take this intimidating task off your plate.
4: how can I help my child if they experience tooth sensitivity?
Tooth sensitivity is a very bio-individual problem. Be sure to ask your dentist for specific recommendations to combat this problem. In general, tooth sensitivity occurs when the tooth’s enamel (hard outer surface) is compromised. This leaves the “tubules” that lead to the tooth’s center nerve “exposed,” so the nerve is left vulnerable.
- nutrition: avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks that can wear down the enamel over time, and instead replace them with more nutrient-dense foods
- healthy habits: damaged enamel is often associated with poor oral care habits. Ensure that your child is brushing properly every day to avoid enamel wear
- supplementation: to promote long-term enamel health, consider introducing hydroxyapatite into your kids oral care routine. Hydroxyapatite is a mineral that already exists in your teeth, and adding it back in can strengthen the enamel from the inside out. In the short term, visit your dentist for a treatment that can relieve sensitivity, and be sure to ask them about specific, bio-individual tips for reducing your child’s tooth sensitivity.
Your dentist will also be able to determine if the enamel damage requires additional treatment (such as a deep cleaning or a filling). It’s also important to remember that sensitivity can also be a result of new tender adult teeth, sinus issues, or tooth grinding.
5: what oral care products should my child use?
Be sure to ask your dentist if your child is ready for flossing. It’s usually recommended to begin flossing when your child’s teeth begin to touch...and they have the patience and dexterity to get the job done.
It’s also a good idea to ask your child’s dentist for a recommendation on the right toothbrush for your little one(s). The grip, softness, and size of your child’s toothbrush can make a big difference, especially when they’re getting used to brushing by themselves!
In regards to toothpaste, many dentists will begin recommending fluoride products when your child reaches age 4. This is the age they begin to understand how to spit out toothpaste, which is important because fluoride can be harmful to your little one if they swallow too much of it.
That being said, we encourage you to research the pros and cons of fluoride and make your own empowered decision on if/when to introduce it into your kids oral care routine. On our blog, we have several articles that discuss hydroxyapatite, a science-supported, natural alternative to fluoride. Check them out!
- what is hydroxyapatite (n-HA)? get to know your mouth's new hero ingredient
- answering your common questions about hydroxyapatite, our newest hero ingredient
- hydroxyapatite vs. fluoride: how does it compare to the oral care superstar?
- is hydroxyapatite toothpaste safe for your kids?
- the five famous benefits of nano-hydroxyapatite
- how does nano-hydroxyapatite (n-HA) work to relieve your sensitive teeth?
In the meantime, you can rest assured that our strawberry watermelon natural toothpaste will take great care of your child’s teeth, and there’s no harm associated with swallowing it! It’s carefully formulated for kids + adults, and it contains all the bacteria-fighting, teeth-polishing, nature-derived ingredients that our original toothpaste has. It will get the job done, worry-free.
Consider it the best natural toothpaste for kids!