A child’s first tooth is an exciting milestone of their development! It also means they become at risk for tooth decay. You can help them ward off decay and start a proper routine of dental care with these tips from the American Dental Association (ADA).
- Tooth decay can occur as soon as your baby’s teeth appear. Start wiping down their gums with a clean, moist cloth a few days after your baby is born.
- Children ages 3 and younger should brush their teeth twice per day with fluoride toothpaste. They don’t need much on their brush – only about the size of a grain of rice.
- Children ages 3 to 6 can use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and should brush twice a day.
- Continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day until you feel comfortable that your child can do it on his or her own.
The ADA also recommends that you schedule an appointment with the dentist as soon as your child’s first tooth appears. Not only will the dentist examine their mouth, but it also gives you the chance to start getting your child comfortable with dental appointments.
For some additional tips, we asked our employees to share what worked for them when it came to getting their children excited about dental care.
“I always schedule my dental appointment right before my kiddo’s first appointment. They get to see what the dentist does to my teeth up close and personal without having to have the dentist be in their face. Then, when it’s time for their first appointment, we do them at the same time so they can see me again in the chair before they get in it.” – Amanda Bayless, BCBSKS marketing production assistant
“As my son got older and wanted to brush his own teeth, I made a rule that he got to brush his teeth in the morning and I got to brush them at night. This way, he had some independence in his oral care but I also knew I was ensuring that his teeth were clean before he went to bed at night. Also, I always let my children pick out their toothbrush, they always looked forward to brushing when they had a new color or character on their toothbrush.” – Nicki Flanagan, BCBSKS director of human resources
“I used to tell 2 to 3-year-olds that I was going to brush their teeth and then I would get the tool out to show them how it goes in circles. I used it to polish their finger first. It helped to put kids at ease and made it fun for them.” – Lori Leithoff, BCBSKS housekeeper and former licensed dental professional
BCBSKS members are encouraged to check their contracts for specific details about benefit coverage before scheduling medical services. Log into BlueAccess® for more information.
Source: American Dental Association