DISCLOSURE: Noelle Copeland RDH is the oral care specialist and dental consultant to the Brilliant and Baby Buddy oral care lines.
I get asked about oral care guidelines for infants and children all the time, and pediatrics is one of my favorite populations of patients that I proudly provide care for. If you’ve ever read anything I’ve written, you know that I advocate for early oral care practices. Early meaning, the mom is still pregnant, early! Literally, everything matters when you are pregnant. The saying “you are what you eat” takes on new meaning when you are growing a little human inside of you. Feeding your body well means you are feeding your baby well and laying a healthy foundation for growth and development.
One of my favorite projects with Brilliant Oral Care was our development of “The Brilliant Children’s Oral Care Guide.” This guide was designed specifically to answer the questions parents often ask about oral care for their children and it starts by discussing pregnancy oral care. Your baby’s oral health and your pregnancy are intricately connected. Did you know that during the third and sixth months of pregnancy, children’s primary baby teeth begin forming and mineralizing? What you eat during pregnancy affects the growth of your unborn child in every way, including the development of baby teeth. During pregnancy, if you have active periodontal disease, you also have a higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm delivery, preeclampsia, and low birth weight. Taking care of your systemic health and your oral health, before, during, and after pregnancy are vitally important.
Throughout this guide, we incorporate 3 fundamental stages of focus for children’s oral care. In each stage, there are typical occurrences that happen that can ultimately affect oral health. For example, when first foods are introduced, this changes the environment of the mouth and the food source for the bacteria that naturally live in the mouth. So during the stage where first foods are typically introduced, we recommend appropriate oral care products with specific guidelines.
- Foundational: Newborns and Infants
- Spit up.
- Oral thrush.
- Bottles and nursing.
- Teething and Budding: Babies
- First purees and cereals.
- Budding gums.
- No teeth yet.
- Tender gums.
- Eruption and Development: Toddlers and up
- Juices and milk.
- Front teeth erupt first.
- First dental visit.
- Learning to chew.
- Sticky and chewy foods.
- Molar teeth erupt.
The Brilliant Children’s Oral Care guide is packed with useful tips, product recommendations, a valuable eruption pattern chart, advice for parents, additional Brilliant choices for the rest of the family, and our exclusive brushing guide.
You can also get any of our premium oral care products on our website. One of the most valuable product options, in my opinion, is our “Oral Care Kits Collection”. Each kit comes with our children’s oral care guide plus everything you need for the oral care of your new baby, your toddler’s first teeth, or your big kids’ full set of chompers.
And if you really want to make oral care FUN for your child, be sure to check out our “Sugar Bugs” book. Robbie is the star of Sugar Bugs, in an adventure of discovery on the importance of taking care of his teeth and gums. Robbie uses his dental floss for jump rope instead of flossing his teeth and his toothbrush has not been used in so long, it has dust and cobwebs. However, it doesn’t take Robbie or his parents, long to see, smell and feel the painful side effects of poor oral care. My kids love this book and we read it at least once a week.
Dental care for your infant, toddler, or big kid has never been this fun or this easy. In fact, I’m so sure that you will love all of the resources I’ve outlined here that I want to give you 15% off, just so you can try them all and see for yourself. You can find everything I’ve talked about and then some, right here https://brilliantoralcare.com/collections/all-brilliant-products and when you check out, be sure to use this coupon code NC15OFF.
Here are some oral care pointers to remember while you consider how to start your routine.
- Baby teeth are important and need to stay healthy to support the eruption of the adult teeth.
- Start-Oral-Care-Early, before the first tooth appears. Wipe and clean your baby’s gums, tongue, and inside cheeks to remove milk residue and bacteria.
- Use silicone toothbrushes to continue oral care on gums, from 3 months of age and up.
- Introduce a bristle toothbrush as soon as the first tooth erupts. Continue to use silicone toothbrushes on teething and budding gums.
- Use fluoride-free toothpaste or gels until spitting has been learned. Spitting out toothpaste is usually learned by age 3, but requires adult direction. Then implement pastes and gels with fluoride as needed or as directed. Xylitol is a great fluoride alternative or it can be used in combination with fluoride.
- Choose an appropriately sized toothbrush for your child. The head should fit your child’s mouth, have soft bristles and the handle should be something you are comfortable using.
- Adults should perform all of the oral care for children until age 5. Adults need to monitor and supervise all oral care thereafter.
- Introduce brush training around age 4. You should brush them first, then let them copy what you did. Their abilities and technique will mature as their grip and dexterity strengthen.
- Most children can effectively brush independently by age 7 but still need direct supervision.
- If the teeth touch, they need to be flossed.
- Flossing should become a normal part of the nightly brushing routine no later than age 5. This will be done by the adult, to begin with.
- Using flossers is a great alternative if regular flossing is too challenging this early. Be sure to keep doing regular flossing practice so this skill is eventually acquired.
- The first professional dental visit should happen sometime between the first tooth erupting and the first birthday, whichever comes first.
- Regular dental checkups and cleanings usually start around age 3 and continue 1-2 times a year thereafter.
Be sure to check out the best baby finger toothbrush and the best toothbrush for kids by visiting https://brilliantoralcare.com/collections/oral-care-kits and scooping up one of our amazing NEW oral care kits. These kits come with everything you need to start a lifetime of healthy smiles. Early oral care is important! Talk to your dental professional about any challenges you may encounter or questions you may have about taking care of your child’s teeth and gums. Remember to always #BrushBrilliant
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