Get the Best Smile for the Whole Family with Our Dentist in Newington, CT
A child’s dental health starts as soon as their first tooth emerges, so it’s important to get a head start on their dental care! Whether you have a young toddler or a pre-teen, there are some ways you can help encourage healthy habits early on! Read below to find out how you can help your child have an A+ smile this year:
Start When Their First Teeth Emerge
A child will typically develop their first teeth around 6-8 months. Take them to see Dr. Haims around their first birthday so that they grow up feeling comfortable getting their teeth cleaned. This will also give us the chance to check their tooth development. Our dentist in Newington, CT can help track their progress and give you advice on how to properly care for your child’s teeth.
Teach Them How to Properly Brush Their Teeth
You can begin brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they come in. Children around 12 months old can use a soft-bristle toothbrush and water; toothpaste can be introduced around 18 months. Signs that your child’s teeth are not being brushed correctly are red and swollen gums or a white film over their teeth.
If your child is younger, make brushing a team effort. Brushing your teeth together can be fun for both of you! Play some music or make a routine that lets this be a bonding experience for you and your child. They will be able to learn how to properly brush by seeing you do it. Setting a good example and providing them with the right tools will help make sure that their smile is happy and healthy.
Use Fluoride Toothpaste
Fluoride is necessary to protect your child’s teeth from tooth damage and decay. Without fluoride, your child can be left at risk for cavities and weakened tooth enamel. Some organic toothpaste lacks a fluoride component, which could be doing your kid more harm than good. Be sure that you are choosing a toothpaste that has the right amount of fluoride for your child. Dr. Haims recommends only using about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste for the fluoride to be effective.
Pack Healthy Snacks for Lunch
What your child chooses to snack on can greatly affect the health of their smile! Teaching your child about eating healthy food and providing them with the right options can help them develop good habits. Choosing things like raw vegetables, string cheese, yogurt, nuts, and smoothies can all help your child’s health by providing them with things like calcium, protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients that they need throughout their day. Our Newington dentist recommends finding healthy alternatives to your child’s favorite foods so that they’re happy and their smile is healthy!
Avoid Sugary Drinks
Things like soda and juice have a high sugar content that could be bad for your child’s teeth. Avoid them altogether by choosing alternative drinks for your child’s lunches! Anything too acidic or sugary can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Dr. Haims recommends choosing more natural drink alternatives to soda and sugar.
Check out these alternatives for your child to enjoy instead of the typical fizzy drink:
Water is essential to maintaining a healthy smile. Staying hydrated can improve your oral health because saliva is the body’s first line of defense against bacteria. Not only is water necessary for your teeth and gums, but it keeps your child’s whole body running properly! To add some flavor, try infusing fruit like lemon or lime. Avoid water flavoring powders because they tend to be high in sugar and chemicals.
Milk is typically the main source of calcium which is necessary for healthy teeth and bones. If your child is dairy-free, you can choose calcium-fortified soy milk instead. This will help strengthen their enamel. Milk does contain sugar, so always be sure that your child is brushing their teeth at the end of the day to prevent tooth damage and decay.
Green and herbal tea contain compounds called polyphenols, which help fight bacteria. This can help protect your teeth from plaque and tartar buildup. Drinking green tea can prevent gum disease, cavities, and bad breath.
Unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies can be a yummy alternative to other fruit juices. Limit your child’s intake to one serving a day for fruit juice and smoothies. Not only do juices have naturally high levels of sugar, but they also have a lot of carbohydrates. Consuming too much can lead to childhood obesity and weight gain. The recommended amount of fruit consumed per day is 150ml for children.
Schedule Regular Cleanings
The most important step to helping your child get an A+ smile this year is to schedule their annual check-up! Routine dental cleanings every six months can allow our dentist in Newington, CT to properly check your child’s oral health. Developing healthy habits will help protect their teeth in between visits, but only a professional dental cleaning can guarantee a healthy smile. A visit to Haims Dental can protect your child from cavities and tartar buildup, as well as prevent serious oral issues from developing in the future.
No matter how old your child is, there is always room to improve their oral health! By developing healthy habits at a young age and sticking to a proper dental care routine, your child’s smile will shine bright! Call Dr. Haims at (860) 521-6767 to schedule your child’s next dental cleaning.