5 Ways to Set Your Child up for a Lifetime of Healthy Teeth

The secret to having healthy, pearly-white, adult teeth starts with a good foundation early in life. But where and when do you begin? 

Dr. Peter Gambertoglio is an experienced dentist offering comprehensive family dental services for kids and adults in Spring, Texas. He recommends taking these simple steps to ensure your child has healthy teeth for a lifetime.

1. Start early

Believe it or not, your baby was born with 20 teeth — they’re just hidden in their gums. Most baby teeth start making an appearance between 6-12 months of age, and you can expect your child to have all their teeth by three years of age. But don't wait to start cleaning their mouth and gums until then. 

Before your child’s teeth appear, start gently wiping their gums with a washcloth or moist gauze pad after feedings and before bed to remove cavity-causing bacteria and sugars. As soon as you can see their teeth coming through, you can add tiny amounts of toothpaste and brush with a child-sized toothbrush, as directed by Dr. Gambertoglio.

2. Schedule regular dental visits

It's easy to assume your child doesn't need the dentist until all their teeth grow in. However, the American Dental Association recommends scheduling your child’s first visit between 6-12 months of age. This first appointment is usually a simple check for growth or development issues, but it also helps sets the stage for getting kids comfortable with routine visits and dental care. 

To make your child’s visit positive, Dr. Gambertoglio suggests taking the following steps:

Talking to your child about their appointment in advance can also help ease any fears they may have about the process.

3. Ask about fluoride

Fluoride plays a crucial role in your child’s oral health. This naturally occurring mineral helps repair weakened tooth enamel and makes it more resistant to decay. Without adequate amounts of fluoride as infants and toddlers, your child has higher risks of dental issues, like decay. While some communities add it to tap water, and you can purchase toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain it, the best way to guarantee your child receives sufficient amounts of fluoride during their formative years is by talking with Dr. Gambertoglio.

4. Practice good oral hygiene

When you make brushing and flossing part of your child’s daily routine, it becomes second nature. Dr. Gambertoglio can help determine the right size toothbrush with soft bristles and the perfect amount of toothpaste, depending on their age. He can also help teach the proper techniques to ensure they learn how to maintain clean and healthy teeth and gums from the earliest age possible.

5. Watch what they eat

Your child is at risk of decay as soon as their first tooth appears, and sugar consumption can significantly increase their chances. Sugar — including honey, juice, and sweetened drinks — helps attract bacteria in the mouth that destroys tooth enamel. In addition to following a healthy diet, you should also avoid dipping pacifiers and bottles in sugar or honey and encourage children to start using a cup by their first birthday. If your child does have sugar, have them brush afterward or clean your baby’s gums with a damp cloth.

For more ways to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth, contact Dr. Gambertoglio by calling 716-265-6422.

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