Did you know that parents should start brushing their children’s teeth as soon as the first tooth comes in?
It’s a great way to teach children the importance of good oral health, and it helps to ensure children will have a lifetime of healthy, happy smiles
But as children get older and start brushing their teeth on their own, getting them to brush twice each day may take some creative coaxing from parents.
To ensure their children are getting the most benefits from brushing their teeth, parents often ask us the following three questions:
- How can I make it fun?
- What is the proper technique they should use?
- What is the right toothbrush and toothpaste?
Make It Fun
Brushing can be fun, especially when you do the following:
- Brush together– Brush your teeth with your children and give them tips on proper brushing techniques. This is a great way to spend more time with your children and get them in a routine of caring for their oral health.
- Read tooth-friendly books – Read books that get your children excited about dental care. There are many fun books available – including this one, this one, and this one.
- Show dental-care videos – Educational videos are a great way of showing children how to properly care for their teeth. Your child could brush along with Elmo, visit Tooth City or learn how to brush away the nasties.
Children should brush their teeth twice each day. It’s extremely important for children to brush their teeth before going to bed each night.
Regular tooth brushing is the best way to ensure children don’t develop cavities in their baby teeth, which can lead to long-term oral health issues.
Here are five simple steps to ensure children are using the proper technique.
- Tilt the bristles of the toothbrush at a 45° angle toward the gums
- Gently brush in tiny circles
- Brush every surface of each tooth
- Brush for two whole minutes (30 seconds for each quadrant)
- Brush the tongue
Children should use a soft-bristled toothbrush that is the correct size for their mouths.
There are a lot of fun toothbrushes for kids. Cartoon characters, action heroes and bright colors can help make your child’s brushing routine more enjoyable.
You also want to make sure your child is properly caring for his/her toothbrush by following these simple steps:
- Wash it: Give your toothbrush a thorough rinse with tap water to remove debris.
- Store it: Store it upright, in a rack or cup, where it can dry out completely.
- Replace it: Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner if it shows signs of wear.
- Toss it: Toss all toothbrushes after an illness – especially a cold or the flu.
- Keep it to yourself: Don’t share your toothbrush!
Children should use toothpaste with fluoride. Make sure the child likes how the toothpaste feels and tastes.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using the following amounts of fluoride toothpaste for young children:
- 3 years of age and younger – Use a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste, equivalent to the size of a single grain of rice
- 3 to 6 years of age – Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste
Visiting the Dentist
While brushing is important, it doesn’t replace the need to visit a dentist every six months for a professional cleaning and exam.
If your child is due for a six-month cleaning – or ready for the first visit to the dentist – contact us to schedule an appointment.