Starting Good Habits in Young Dental Patients
At College Park Dental it is not unusual for us to see patients with extensive tooth decay and damage at a young age because they were never started on the path of proper at-home dental care from a young age. Additionally, young patients who have never experienced the dental office can develop into adults who are anxious or fearful about going to the dentist.
Because dental issues can cause infections and other complications in the overall health of children it is especially important to instill good oral hygiene habits in your child’s routine from a very early age.
Even as an infant you should begin wiping your child’s gums with a warm wet washcloth after feedings. This will not only help prevent the build up of bacteria in their mouths but will also help them grow accustomed to having you clean their mouths, making this less of a chore for you as they grow older.
Once your child’s first tooth grows in, or they reach their first birthday it is time to schedule their first dental appointment. While there might not be much to clean, this is an important visit for your child. They will grow accustomed to the dentist office from an early age, and your dentist can evaluate your child’s jaw and mouth growth and identify any areas of concern early-on.
In regards to at-home care, you should begin brushing your child’s tooth or teeth as soon as they appear. Use a toothbrush specially designed for infants and only use toothpaste once recommended by your dentist or pediatrician – and use a product specially designed for babies. Once your child has two teeth that touch you should begin gently flossing between them to prevent tooth decay.
With these simple at home tips and with regular visits to the dentist, even the tiniest of patients can become comfortable with oral health care and prepare for a lifetime of beautiful smiles!
Manual v. Electric Tooth Brushes
The dentists at College Park Dental are often asked for product recommendations and other tips regarding at-home dental care. We are happy to offer recommendations when we have experience with a specific product and when we know that a product will fit your individual needs as a dental patient.
One of the more common questions we receive is whether or not a patient should consider an electric toothbrush. After all, when you visit the dental office your teeth are cleaned and polished with an electric toothbrush, but you are often sent home with a manual brush. Which is better?
Many dental studies confirm that electric toothbrushes clean teeth better than manual versions. While they are more costly, electric brushes simply pack more power than most people use when brushing manually. However, because of this power it is important to be careful when using an electric toothbrush as not to damage your gums. Follow the manufacturers instructions carefully and if you’re still unsure, talk to you dentist about your electric toothbrush before use.
If you’re not ready to dive into electric brushing at home, rest assured that an electric toothbrush may be helpful but is not necessary. If you are adequately brushing twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist twice a year for professional grade cleanings you teeth should remain sparkling and healthy without the extra power.