As a kids’ dentist in Sandy, Dr. Conklin understands that parents can have a lot of questions when it comes to protecting their child’s oral health. Even before your child develops his or her teeth, the mouth needs preventative care to protect against damage and tooth decay later in life. Here’s what you need to know about how to protect your child’s oral health.
A pacifier won’t impede tooth alignment or jaw development, provided your child doesn’t use a pacifier for too long. In fact, most pediatric dentists would prefer kids suck on a pacifier rather than their thumbs because children tend to stop using a pacifier earlier in their development.
When selecting a pacifier, safety should be the number one priority. You don’t want any type of pacifier that has pieces that come apart as you don’t want your baby to swallow anything. To lower the risk, look for a pacifier that’s all one piece.
Pacifier nipples come in a variety of shapes, from the rounder bottle type to flattened orthodontic versions that feature a wider tip. Orthodontic pacifiers are designed to keep your child’s jaw in the correct alignment, but in reality the time, intensity, and frequency a child spends sucking is far more likely to impact bite development than the type of pacifier used. Feel free to use whichever type your child prefers.
You can buy pacifiers made from both silicone or latex. While the type of material used to make your child’s pacifier doesn’t really matter to his or her teeth, latex nipples are not dishwasher safe. You will need to wash them by hand to prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria.
You need to clean your child’s gum during the first few months. A simple step towards ensuring quality oral development, simply use a damp washcloth or pieces of gauze to gently wipe the gums clean after feeding.
Once your child first starts to develop his or her teeth, the dental care routine needs to become more serious. As soon as teeth begin to emerge they become targets for oral plaque. Just as you do for your own teeth, you’ll need to brush your child’s teeth twice a day. Use any children’s sized toothbrush that features soft bristles and a small heath.
Over the last couple of years, toothpaste recommendations have changed. Today, the American Dental Association recommends using a toothpaste containing fluoride immediately after the first tooth emerges. Any brand of toothpaste will work, just make sure to only use a small dollop – about the size of a grain of rice – until the age of 3, and then a pea-sized amount between the ages of 3 to 6.
Also, don’t forget to floss, a habit you should start practicing on your child’s teeth as soon as his or her first teeth come in side by side.
Questions to Ask Your Kids’ Dentist in Sandy
Dr. Conklin is always happy to answer any questions parents may have about their child’s oral health. Here are a few of the most common questions we hear from parents.
- Are my child’s teeth developing normally?
- What oral health problems should I keep a look out for?
- What steps can I take to prevent tooth decay?
- What types of foods best help to protect my child’s oral health?
- Should I add fluoride to my child’s water?