Oral Hygiene Tips for Infants, Toddlers, & Preschoolers (Ages 0–6)

Hudsonville MI oral hygiene tips for children ages 0-6

Did you know that different oral health risks occur as your little one progresses through each stage of childhood? Because of this, they’ll need to follow new oral hygiene habits as they age and may face dental treatments from our Hudsonville, MI, pediatric dentist if one of those risks becomes a reality.

In our Oral Hygiene Tips blog series, we’re taking a look at the kinds of oral health issues you can help your child prevent at home and the positive behaviors they can practice now for a healthy smile in the future. If you ever need help along the way, remember that our pediatric dentist is here for you.

For our first blog, here are some oral health risks and hygiene tips for infants, toddlers,and preschoolers (ages 0–6).

Typical Risks to Your Child’s Oral Health

The two most common dental problems for young children are cavities and unexpected dental emergencies.

Dental Cavities

Approximately 42% of children ages 2 to 11 have had dental caries (cavities) in their baby teeth. While this statistic is troubling, you may be thinking, “Wait a minute — why does it matter if cavities form in baby teeth? Aren’t they going to fall out anyway?”

While it’s true that baby teeth (also known as primary teeth) aren’t permanent, that doesn’t mean tooth decay is less of a problem. It’s important that we treat cavities in children’s primary teeth so their adult teeth will emerge correctly.

Also, ignored cavities in primary teeth can invite dangerous infections into the body just as much as untreated cavities in adult teeth. Tooth fillings for children with cavities can help stop tooth decay and prevent gum disease.

Dental Emergencies

Childhood is full of bumps and bruises. As a parent, you probably know the difference between a small scrape and something more serious, but what if you had to evaluate a dental injury? Do you know how to identify a dental emergency?

Common dental emergencies for children include:

  • Knocked-out teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Tongue or lip bite that won’t stop bleeding
  • Severe and prolonged toothaches
  • Object stuck in teeth

Generally speaking, if your child’s injury presents an immediate threat to their health (e.g., a broken tooth with jagged edges), you should see our emergency dentist at once. If your child is struggling with something less urgent, like a minor toothache that isn’t interrupting their ability to eat, sleep, or speak, then you’re safe scheduling a regular appointment and we’ll be sure to see your child as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that serious facial trauma requires emergency medical treatment, not dental treatment. If your child has a dental emergency, like a lost tooth, but also other injuries, like a broken nose, then you should take your child to the emergency room first.

Teaching Your Child Good Oral Hygiene Habits

The best way to protect against dental emergencies and cavities is to practice good oral hygiene habits. For children ages 0–6, our dentist focuses on:

  • Proper brushing technique: Even before your child has teeth, you should wipe their gums regularly with a gentle washcloth. Once their teeth start coming in, start brushing. Your child can start brushing (with your supervision) as soon as they can hold a toothbrush and spit on their own. Your child should also brush their teeth at least twice a day.
  • Fluoride treatments: Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens tooth enamel. We encourage parents to buy fluoridated toothpaste for their children. Our pediatric dentist can also apply a stronger fluoride treatment in our office to protect your child’s teeth as well.

Protect Your Child’s Oral Health

Our pediatric dentist in Hudsonville, MI, can help you protect your child’s oral health, whether they’re dealing with cavities, suffering from a dental emergency, or just need preventive care. Call Hudsonville Dental Kids today at (616) 209-4039 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

This blog post has been updated.