As a parent, keeping your child’s teeth healthy is important. Maintaining good oral hygiene during your child’s early years protects their teeth from gum diseases, cavities, and tooth loss as they grow older.
However, many parents tend to their child’s oral health only when they notice visible issues or discomfort. In Washington alone, as many as 53% of children under the age of 9 have dental caries, while 38% of kindergartners experience tooth decay at such a young age. And the figures are essentially the same for smaller cities like Kirkland.
If you’re a first-time parent who wants to build a foundation for strong, healthy teeth for your child, it’s essential to follow some basic oral health guidelines and inculcate healthy habits in your children early on. Here are some helpful tips:

Regular checkups and timely treatment are important

If left untreated, oral health issues can adversely affect your child’s well-being. Besides dental issues like caries, tooth decay, and gum diseases, your child’s jaw and teeth alignment plays a major role in maintaining oral health and staying confident.
Crooked teeth, jaw misalignments, and large dental gaps create chewing and cleaning problems for children, leading to various dental health issues. Crooked teeth also lower your child’s self-confidence. You can Google expert orthodontic care near me to shortlist a professional and take your child for regular checkups and timely treatment for any alignment issues. Once your orthodontist takes a closer look at your child’s teeth and jaw, they will recommend the best treatment according to the severity of the issue and your child’s age.

Say no to sugary foods

Bacteria residing in the mouth are the culprit behind most oral health issues in young children. Here’s how:

  • Sugar is the primary food source that creates a perfect environment for these harmful bacteria to multiply abundantly and wreak havoc on your child’s dental well-being.
  • These bacteria feed on sugar and produce acids that can lower the pH level in the mouth and ultimately attack the tooth enamel, resulting in caries, tooth decay, and gum diseases in children.
  • Excessive sugar in the mouth also leads to bad breath and reduced saliva production, exacerbating oral health issues in children.

All children have a thing for sweets, but as a parent, you should monitor their sugar intake in any form. Try the following:

  • Encourage your child to consume sugary foods in moderation
  • Give them healthy alternatives like fresh fruit salads, fruit juices, dairy products, or their favorite veggies
  • Ensure your child drinks plenty of water to rinse away sugars and acids and neutralize pH levels in the mouth
  • Remind your child to brush and floss each time they consume sugary foods

Encourage your child to adopt oral health practices

As a parent, you must lay the foundation of good oral health from the get-go. Even when your baby’s teeth haven’t popped out of the gum, bacteria in the mouth can cause inflammation in the gums, and the first milk teeth may get infected sooner than anticipated.

Maintaining oral hygiene in children under 1 year

Follow these guidelines to maintain your infant’s oral hygiene:

  • Clean the infant’s gums gently with a clean, damp cloth or gauze pad after each feed
  • Use a soft silicon finger brush to gently brush the baby’s gums
  • Don’t make your infant sleep with a milk bottle in their mouth
  • If you or anyone in the family has gum diseases or dental decay problems, avoid sharing a utensil
  • When the first teeth appear, brush them with a soft-bristled brush, but without toothpaste
  • Schedule your baby’s first dental appointment as soon as they turn 1
  • Visit a dentist even earlier if you notice any signs of tooth decay in your baby

Maintaining oral hygiene in children over 2 years of age

Toddlers and preschoolers are at the age where they’re just learning to brush their teeth or carry out their routine chores. This is the perfect time to instill healthy dental care habits in them. Here’s how you should maintain oral hygiene in toddlers:

  • Brush your toddler’s teeth twice a day with plain water
  • Use a toothpaste only when your dentist recommends
  • Visit a dentist at least twice a year for a checkup
  • Check for any white or brown spots in your child’s teeth
  • If their teeth have a chalky color or chipped edges, take them for a dental checkup right away
  • Help your child floss
  • If your child is still feeding on a bottle or using a pacifier, make sure they stop using it before reaching the age of 3

How to know if your child needs immediate dental care

For any parent, it’s important to monitor their child’s dental health and seek immediate treatment if they notice any issues. As we mentioned earlier, timely diagnosis and treatment can keep your child safe from long-term oral, physical, and mental health issues and help them maintain strong teeth for years to come. If your child develops the following symptoms, you should seek immediate dental care from a qualified orthodontist:

  • Discolored teeth, which may indicate your child has started to develop cavities
  • A toothache
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods or beverages
  • Misaligned teeth
  • The child finds it hard to chew or swallow food
  • The child has difficulty biting food
  • Swollen, red, or bleeding gums
  • Toothache when the child is growing permanent teeth or molars
  • The child is unable to close their mouth properly


Every parent wants their child to grow up happy and healthy. Besides caring for their general physical health, parents must also pay attention to their child’s oral hygiene. With the above guidelines and tips, you can keep your child’s oral health at its best and prevent any short-term or long-term issues that may jeopardize their dental, physical, and mental well-being in the long run.


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