Family Friday: Dental Care & Sippy Cups

This is the second in a four-part series that will appear on Fridays focusing on dental issues for families with children.

As your children grow, their needs change. They need more food. They will want to demonstrate that they are becoming independent.

During this time, you will want to encourage your children to do things that are in their best interest.

This should include brushing and flossing. It also should involve routine visits to the dentist office. That could be any of our three Beaumont Family Dentistry locations in Lexington if you live anywhere in Central Kentucky.

Today, we will review the oral hygiene habits you want your children to develop at a young age. We will explain what you and your child can expect during his or her first trip to the dentist office.

We also want to take some time to discuss sippy cups, and why you may want to consider using something else.

Dental Hygiene

In our previous Family Friday post, we discussed the importance of maintaining your child’s oral hygiene even before his or her teeth erupt.

For children younger than 3 years old, you may need to continue brushing and flossing for them. At this age, you need to have a toothbrush that is the right size for your child. Place a small amount of toothpaste on the brush (about the size of a grain of rice) and scrub his or her teeth twice a day. Then, take time once per day to floss between his or her teeth and gums.

Around age 3, many children are ready to start brushing their teeth on their own. While your little darling may be eager to show you that they can do this for him- or herself, you should oversee their brushing and flossing until you are confident that he or she knows what to do.

You can model the behavior by brushing and flossing with your child. Around age 3, your child will need a squeeze of fluoride toothpaste about the size of a pea. (As a quick aside, this is all you need, too.)

You want your children to brush twice per day for two minutes each time. You also want them to scrub their teeth on all sides during that time. If you have a smartphone or tablet, you may want to download an app that encourages and rewards children for brushing and flossing. Many of them are free.

Make sure they spit out the toothpaste when they are finished.

Show your child how to floss by breaking off about 18 inches of dental floss. You want them to wrap the ends around their middle fingers. They should hold the floss in the middle and work it between each of their teeth and under their gumlines.

Building good oral hygiene habits at a young age will help as they get older.

First Visit With The Dentist

In general, we welcome children to make their first trip to the dentist around 2 years old.

This is a big day for your child, and we want them to feel special. We always do our best to make the first time a “Happy Visit.”

We will show your child some of the tools that we use to clean teeth. We’ll introduce them to members of our staff, and we will try to take a look at his or her teeth. Some kids need a little more time to warm up to the office, and that’s OK.

We won’t force your child to do anything. We want him or her to feel comfortable during this visit and the subsequent visits for routine care for years to come.

Should You Use Sippy Cups?

As you child gets older, sippy cups seems like a nice way to prevent spills from the inevitable times when your child knocks over or drops a drink.

Unfortunately, sippy cups can create some other problems.

The plastic opening where children drink can affect the development of their teeth, jaw, and palate. We understand that letting your child drink from an open cup probably doesn’t seem like a good alternative for young children.

There are alternatives, however, like the OXO Tot Training Cup. The lids on these kinds of cups limit the flow of liquids but allows your child to drink like he or she would from a cup or glass.

Another important consideration is what you put in your child’s cup. He or she may want a sugary drink, but letting him or her sip on those drinks all day can increase the risk of cavities. Water is always a good option.

Is Your Child Ready For The Dentist?

As you son or daughter’s second birthday near, contact any Beaumont Family Dentistry to set up his or her first dental visit. With three locations, we may be closer than you think.

Just call any of our Lexington dentist offices or contact us online to make your appointment.