Creating Good Oral Health Habits for Your Children

March 16, 2021

Teeth can last a lifetime if you take care of them right, and the best time to start is as soon as they begin appearing. At Utah Orthodontic Care, we believe by establishing good oral hygiene routines for your children right from the start, you’ll give them the best chance of keeping their teeth healthy. Our Salt Lake City orthodontists and staff recommend taking specific steps to ensure your children, at all ages, are brushing and flossing properly to avoid tooth decay and cavities.

Babies & Oral Health

Babies can develop a form of tooth decay known as early childhood caries. This occurs when they are allowed to go to sleep with a bottle that’s filled with anything but water. The sugars in formula, milk (even breast milk) and juice can pool around the teeth and feed decay-causing bacteria. When it comes to bedtime, a pacifier or bottle filled with water is safer for developing teeth — that is, until about age 3. At that point, sucking habits should be gently discouraged to prevent orthodontic problems from developing later on.

Brush your baby’s first teeth gently with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush, using just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, at least once a day at bedtime. Before a tooth is fully erupted, you can use a water-soaked gauze pad to clean around the tooth and gums. You should bring your child in to see the dentist by age 1 to ensure all their developing teeth are on track.

Oral Hygiene for Children in Salt Lake City

Starting at age 3, you can begin teaching your child to brush with a children’s toothbrush and no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Please remember, children will need help with this important task until about age 6, when they have the fine motor skills to do an effective job themselves.

It’s also extremely important to start encouraging healthy dietary habits at this time. Your child will have less plaque buildup and decay if you place limits on soda and sugary snacks.

our child should visit the dentist twice-yearly for checkups and cleanings. By age 7, your child should visit the orthodontist for early orthodontic treatment. At this time, our Salt Lake City orthodontist can see how your child’s teeth are growing, their alignment, and any issues that may be present.

Adolescents, Brushing & Braces

At this point, your children have the primary responsibility for maintaining their day-to-day oral health, but you can continue to help them make good dietary and behavioral choices. These include drinking plenty of water and avoiding soda, sports drinks and energy drinks, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, continuing to visit their dentist for routine teeth cleanings, and attending all of their scheduled braces appointments in Salt Lake City.

Contact Utah Orthodontic Care for Affordable Orthodontics Today!

By continually being involved in your child’s oral health habits and modeling good oral hygiene yourself, your children will understand that oral health is important. For other tips about oral hygiene or affordable orthodontics, contact Utah Orthodontic Care. We hope to hear from you soon!