Top Pediatric Dental Care Tips for Parents

At Hon Van Cao, DDS, located in the heart of Riverside, we understand the importance of establishing a solid foundation for dental health early in life. Pediatric dental care is crucial in ensuring your child enjoys a lifetime of healthy smiles. This comprehensive guide will provide you with essential tips and advice from our experts, Drs. Hon and Christina Cao, to help keep your child's teeth healthy and strong.

Why Pediatric Dental Care Is Important

The habits formed in childhood often last a lifetime. Early dental care is not only about preventing cavities but also about teaching children the importance of maintaining daily dental hygiene. Proper care can prevent common dental issues like tooth decay and gum disease, which can affect children's eating habits, speech development, and overall health.

Tip 1: Start Dental Hygiene Early

- Infant Care: Begin cleaning your baby's gums with a soft cloth before their teeth even erupt. This helps remove harmful bacteria.

- First Tooth: When the first tooth appears, switch to a soft-bristled baby toothbrush with water and a tiny smear of toothpaste.

- First Dental Visit: Schedule your child's first dental visit by their first birthday or when the first tooth appears, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Tip 2: Teach Proper Brushing Techniques

- Brushing Basics: Teach your child to use gentle circular motions to clean each tooth and their gums. Make it fun by singing songs or setting a timer for two minutes to ensure they brush long enough.

- Parental Supervision: Continue to help your child brush their teeth until they have the motor skills to tie their shoes, typically around age 6.

Tip 3: Focus on a Healthy Diet

- Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks: Sugar contributes significantly to tooth decay. Limit your child's intake of sugary snacks and beverages.

- Promote Healthy Choices: Encourage eating fruits, vegetables, and cheese, which can help combat plaque and strengthen teeth.

Tip 4: Regular Dental Visits

- Routine Check-Ups: Regular dental visits are vital for spotting and treating problems early. Hon Van Cao, DDS provides a kid-friendly environment that makes dental visits enjoyable.

- Preventative Treatments: Ask about preventative options such as fluoride treatments and dental sealants, which can protect your child's teeth from decay.

Tip 5: Guard Against Dental Injuries

- Mouth Guards: If your child is involved in sports, a mouth guard is a must to protect against dental injuries. Custom-fitted mouth guards are available at our practice and provide better protection than over-the-counter versions.

Tip 6: Establish Good Bedtime Dental Habits

- No Bottles at Bedtime: Never put your child to bed with a bottle of juice or milk as it can lead to tooth decay.

- Bedtime Brushing: Ensure your child brushes their teeth before bed to remove plaque and food particles that have accumulated throughout the day.

Overcoming Dental Anxiety

- Positive Reinforcement: Use positive language when talking about the dentist. Avoid using the dentist as a threat for bad behavior.

- Mock Visits: Play pretend visits to the dentist at home to make your child more comfortable with the idea of a dental check-up.


Pediatric dental care is a partnership between parents and the dental care team. At Hon Van Cao, DDS, we are committed to guiding you and your child through this journey, ensuring a lifetime of healthy smiles. Our practice is dedicated to providing comprehensive pediatric dental care in a comforting and child-friendly environment.

Is your child due for a dental check-up? Schedule an appointment today with Hon Van Cao, DDS, and let us help you ensure your child’s dental health is on the right track. Visit our Children's Dentistry page for more information and to get in touch.