Oral Hygiene For Kids

Oral Hygiene Guide for Kids

The Guide to Taking Care of Your Child's Teeth

Oral hygiene for kids is just as important as it is for adults.

Even though their little teeth are going to come out and make way for their permanent teeth, keeping the baby teeth healthy is vital to the health and wellness of your child.

When You Should Start Caring for Your Child's Teeth

Oral hygiene for kids starts the moment your baby comes home from the hospital. Don't wait until your child develops their first tooth.

After nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, gently wipe their gums with a damp washcloth.

When their little teeth start to show up, invest in a child's toothbrush. These brushes are much smaller than the average toothbrush and have softer bristles. They'll be gentle on your child's gums but will do a good job of removing plaque.

Around the age of two to three years, your child will have teeth that start to touch, so this is a great time to start flossing. Make sure to talk with our team regarding when it's best to start flossing your child's teeth, as each child has their own unique needs.

Why is Oral Hygiene for Kids Important?

Your child's baby teeth serve multiple purposes.

First, they help your child speak correctly and chew their food efficiently. Second, they act as space maintainers for their permanent teeth. Keeping these teeth healthy is vital for:

  • Good digestion and nutrient absorption
  • A beautiful smile
  • Healthy adult teeth
  • Confidence in the way they speak and look

What happens if you don't have good home care practices? Your child can end up with dental decay. Since their teeth are so small, the decay progresses more rapidly, leading to early extractions or the need for a children's root canal treatment (pulpotomy).

Not only can this cause your child pain, but If the tooth or teeth are extracted before the adult teeth are ready to come into the mouth the other baby teeth can shift. All teeth, whether baby or adult teeth, will shift to fill a space. When this happens, it can lead to misalignment of the teeth and jaw, causing pain and making it difficult to chew.

Another problem that can arise from shifting is that it's difficult for adult teeth to come into the mouth if another tooth is in the way. The result of this situation is that the adult teeth come in crooked, end up misaligned and in need of orthodontic treatment. This could also cause TMJ disorder, a painful jaw condition that can impact their ability to chew and can cause chronic headaches and migraines.

 Caring For Your Child's Teeth
Oral Hygiene For Kids

How Do I Brush My Child's Teeth?

Once your child has graduated from damp washcloth to toothbrush, what's the best way to brush their teeth?

  • Stand behind your child. It will give you better control of the toothbrush and allow them to see what you're doing in the mirror. This might take some practice, though.
  • Use just a pea-sized amount of toothpaste.
  • Brush for about two minutes twice a day.

If you need recommendations about toothbrushes or toothpaste, we are always happy to help!

How Do I Teach My Child to Care for Their Own Teeth?

Until around age eight or nine, it's best if you supervise your child while they brush their teeth. Doing this will ensure that they're doing a proper job and thoroughly cleaning every tooth and all surfaces of each tooth.

It's normal for your child to resist proper teeth brushing. If this happens, find ways to make the job fun. Brush together to your favorite song. Turn it into a game. Whatever it takes to get them to want to take care of their teeth.

Explain to your child the importance of caring for their teeth, too. Their dentist will likely have some age-appropriate terminology to share with you during the oral hygiene instruction portion of your child's dental exam and cleaning appointment. Use this to remind your child why they need to brush and floss every day.

Childrens Dental Care Santa Barbara CA
Kids Dental Care Santa Barbara CA

When Should Your Child Get a Dental Exam and Cleaning?

Your child's first dental exam should occur around their first birthday. Getting your child to the dentist early will help prevent some major issues down the road. Your Santa Barbara children's dentist can:

  • Spot decay early and treat it
  • Provide a fluoride varnish to protect the teeth
  • Evaluate your child's dentition and jaw alignment for potential orthodontic needs

After that initial dental exam, you'll want to get your child in to see Dr. Omid every six months for exams and dental cleanings. The dental cleaning will remove decay-causing plaque and help prevent gum disease. Your dentist will determine the best time for your child to start receiving dental cleanings.

Creating Good Habits to Protect Your Child's Teeth for a Lifetime

Good oral hygiene for kids will save your child from experiencing painful tooth decay and reduce their risk of serious dental complications.

Plus, when you instill good dental home care habits at a young age, you make it easier for your child to care for their teeth on their own. That, in turn, will give them a better chance of keeping their teeth healthy for a lifetime.

Meet Dr. Omid

Dr. Omid Barkhordar, DDS has earned his reputation as a leading family and cosmetic dentist in Santa Barbara, the Central Coast, and Southern California. He is committed to providing patients of all ages with compassionate care.

From general dentistry to advanced procedures, Dr. Omid uses innovative technology and gentle techniques to deliver safe and stress-free dental care so patients can enjoy a painless, healthy, and gorgeous smile.

Dr. Omid earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Southern California (USC) School of Dentistry in one of the best dental programs in the United States. His dedication to helping patients achieve their perfect smile has earned Dr. Omid the continued trust and recommendation of many clients.

No matter the age or needs of the patient, Dr. Omid is committed to helping you discover the benefits of a healthy, beautiful smile.

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Dr. Omid Barkhordar


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