It’s never too early to consider your child’s dental health and how you’ll instill good habits. The foundation for proper dental care for your child begins well before his first tooth emerges. As a parent, it’s important to understand the various elements of proper dental care at every stage of your child’s life. Despite the popular belief that baby teeth aren’t as important as adult teeth, baby teeth create a foundation for permanent teeth — and deserve to be treated with the same level of care. Having healthy baby teeth is extremely important to your child’s oral health as he progress through each stage of life.
While there are some basic rules — such as avoiding sugary snacks, and having regular visits to a pediatric dentist — each stage of your child’s growth is unique. For example, using fluoride toothpaste is important for protecting a child’s teeth from cavities, but only for a child older than 2. As your child gets older, it’s important that you model good dental habits when it comes to brushing and flossing. Even though your child may be able to brush his teeth, he may need help to make sure good brushing and flossing habits stick with him.
For more information, see the accompanying graphic — A Parent’s Checklist for Children’s Oral Health — to learn more about the proper dental care at each stage of a child’s development. While finding a qualified dentist for your child is important, healthy teeth require more than a simple checkup every six months. Use this checklist as a reference to ensure your child develops strong teeth and dental habits that will remain throughout his life.