Proper oral care is important at every age, but when it comes to you and your child, it is even more essential to assist in developing the proper habits for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Failure to start on the right foot now may lead to concerns later on. According to the CDC, for example, 20% of children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated, decayed tooth. Cavities can be prevented with the right level of care, which is why it is important for parents to stay up-to-date with their child’s oral health.

Alligator Dental is here to serve as your trusted pediatric dentists in San Marcos and Seguin. Our Texas-based family dental practice focuses on providing a fun, comfortable experience for patients of all ages, from the first tooth all the way into adulthood. We offer age-appropriate services and amenities for all of our patients, from the arcade and playroom to our teen area, movie theater, and more!

Today, we’ll continue to discuss the proper oral care for your child based on their age. This information should help you to better understand what you should be doing to promote the best oral health for your little one. Keep reading to learn more, and feel free to schedule your appointment anytime!

Older Babies (12 – 18 Months)

Children should have clear tooth growth by their first birthday. If you haven’t done so yet, it is highly recommended to schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist for an initial checkup to help keep an eye on any potential issues.

By this point, your little one will likely be crawling and walking freely, which means even more supervision for you as an adult. When it comes to proper oral hygiene, remember to:

  • Continue brushing — As more teeth come in, continue to brush twice a day with clean water. 
  • Strengthen brushing habits — Young children crave consistency and structure, which can help you as you explain the importance of proper oral care. Now may be the perfect time to introduce engaging games or activities associated with brushing.
  • Keep an eye out for cavities — Alligator Dental recommends frequent inspections of your child’s smile to ensure no tooth decay is present. If you notice discoloration or brown spots, be sure to contact our pediatric dentists for fast assistance!

Young Children (18 – 60 Months)

By the age of three, your little one will most likely have their full set of primary teeth. This time of rapid development will also result in improvements to both communication and fine motor skills, both of which help to make regular oral care more feasible for both parent and child.

Your child’s smile will undergo some big changes throughout this period, so be sure you stay on top of all of the necessities for the best results:

  • Introduce toothpaste — Once your child reaches two years of age, you can begin to place very tiny amounts (think the size of a pea) onto the toothbrush. Now will be the time to teach your little one how to properly brush and responsibly use fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Teach oral care habits — Children are eager to prove their skills by the age of five, but keep in mind that your little one may not be comfortable brushing on their own for another year or two. 
  • Stop pacifier use — Activities such as sucking on thumbs or pacifiers can do much to make babies happy, but over time, this response can develop into an unhealthy habit. Reach out to our pediatric dentists if your child is still using pacifiers or sucking thumbs past 36 months.
  • Schedule regular checkups — Once your child has completed their first visit to the dentist, their specialist will likely discuss future appointments with you. This can help to ensure your child’s smile is as healthy as possible while allowing your pediatric dentist to keep an eye on things.

Ready to Get Started?

While it can be challenging trying to keep on track for the best oral health practices, following these guidelines should give you a starting point. If you’re ready to schedule your little one’s first appointment, then our pediatric dentists in San Marcos and Seguin are here and happy to help!

Contact us today to learn more and to receive answers to any of your questions. We look forward to helping you and your child smile!