The Major Dental Milestones Your Healthy Kids Will Reach
By Sarah Parker Ward
Getting your little one into the habit of routine oral care is best done by starting early and making it fun! Here are the milestones you can look for as they start to grow up – and what actions you should be taking to give them the best start.
Newborn Oral Care
Newborn oral care is really as simple as ensuring their gums are kept healthy and clean. During bath time or in the evening before bed, you can use a warm, wet washcloth to gently clean their gums. Likewise, offering them a bottle with water can provide a simple rinse.
Infant Oral Care
At baby’s first birthday or once their first chomper has cut through – whichever comes first - it’s recommended to begin semi-annual dentist appointments. During the first visits, the dentist will check the health of however many teeth are visible and as well as your child’s gums. But starting this process of infant oral care early doesn’t just provide better oral health, it can also help your child gain comfort with the dentist’s office early on.
Teeth Brushing for Toddlers
As more teeth begin to poke through and your child’s diet begins to expand, routine teeth brushing should quickly become habit. Shockingly, 40 percent of children have tooth decay, so twice-daily brushing – morning and night – is a must to avoid falling into that category. Until your child is between 6 and 7 years old, it’s best to actively help them with their tooth brushing to ensure that they’re brushing correctly and for a long enough period of time. (One advantage of electric toothbrushes is that many come equipped with a timer!)
Dental Hygiene for Kids
Regular flossing and mouthwash use are also recommended as both work to remove plaque from between the teeth, places toothbrushes can’t always reach. Floss picks come equipped with a plastic handle and are often easier for kids to handle. Likewise, opt for a children’s mouthwash, instead of an adult version, which often have more fun colors and flavors that can help entice reluctant little ones to take part.
Looking for a good children’s mouthwash? Try LISTERINE® SMART RINSE® to provide 12-hour cavity protection for kids ages 6 and up
Between the ages of 5 and 7, their baby teeth will begin to make way for their permanent teeth meaning that the exciting adventure of loose teeth will begin. Around the world, many parents help cut out the fear of this experience and promote healthy dental care behaviors by touting the story of the tooth fairy (or as is the case in much of Europe, a tooth mouse). In exchange for healthy pearly whites, the tooth fairy will leave a small financial token – which, according to news reports, is an average of $3.19 in the U.S.!
Dental Hygiene for Teenagers
During the teenage years, some adolescents become less stringent about their hygiene habits – including their dental health. In fact, 1 in 5 have untreated decay. It’s important to remind them of the long-term value of proper teeth cleaning. If nothing else, you can push the simple swish of mouthwash to help fight bacteria.
Healthy teeth don’t just provide us the lifelong pleasure of enjoying a diverse array of foods, but they also allow us to feel confident and to help make positive first impressions. Giving your child the best future means paving the way early on with thoughtful, routine care.
©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2016