Dr. Zarmin Lalani provides tips on brushing and flossing your child’s teeth during infancy, toddler, childhood and teenage years. Even though parents have been brushing and flossing teeth for years, many parents are surprised to learn that it has not been done correctly. Our dental topics include tips on brushing and flossing techniques along with choosing the correct amount of toothpaste and dental products.
Brushing Children’s Teeth
Some parents do not see the need to care as much for baby teeth as they do adult teeth because baby teeth will eventually fall out. However, these teeth are only called “baby teeth” because they emerge when you’re a baby. In reality, these teeth will have to last until your child is an early teenager.
The Importance Of Brushing Your Child’s Teeth
Brushing your child’s teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time is an essential part of maintaining their oral hygiene. Brushing helps remove dental plaque, which is a sticky substance that is constantly being created on the teeth. If this plaque isn’t removed twice a day, it will build up and harden, creating a substance called tartar. Once tartar has formed on your child’s teeth, it can only be removed by a professional.
By not brushing regularly, you are also risking cavities (tooth decay), infection, and gum disease. Just a little time spent brushing can help prevent all of these problems for your child!
Helping Your Child Brush Their Teeth
The development of good brushing habits for your child will begin before his or her first tooth even makes an appearance. Breast milk and formula can create bacteria on the gums in the same way that food can create bacteria on the teeth. It’s important to clean your baby’s gums with a clean cloth or a gum brush after meals.
Once your baby’s teeth begin to erupt, brush them with a baby toothbrush. Not only will this clean their teeth, but it will also get them used to having a toothbrush in their mouth, decreasing the number of toothbrush-related tantrums in the future!
Between the ages of 2-3 years, you can begin brushing your child’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure you’re only using a pea-sized amount, as kids this age will still probably swallow a bit of the toothpaste.
By starting early and being consistent, you can make sure tooth brushing becomes part of your child and teen’s daily hygiene routine. For more tips on encouraging kids to brush their teeth and maintain healthy teeth, please contact Discovery Kids Pediatric Dentistry, located in Frisco, TX!
When should my child begin using toothpaste and how much should I use?
When your child is an infant, you should be cleaning his or her gums before bed with a clean, damp cloth or with a soft, infant toothbrush. Once the teeth begin to erupt, you should use a soft-bristled child’s toothbrush twice a day. By the time your child is three years old, you can begin to let them try brushing their own teeth, but be sure to follow up with a more thorough brushing. The amount of fluoride toothpaste to use can be discussed with Dr. Lalani.
Flossing Children’s Teeth
Some parents don’t see the need to care as much for baby teeth as they do adult teeth because baby teeth will eventually fall out. However, these teeth are only called “baby teeth” because they emerge when you’re a baby. In reality, these teeth will have to last until your child is an early teenager.
We wish it was rare to see a 4 or 5-year-old child with decay between their teeth, but it’s actually quite common. It is very important to floss regularly to remove plaque and debris between the teeth. This allows for healthy gums and helps reduce the chances of developing cavities.
Helping Your Child Become A Lifelong Flosser
You want to begin flossing your kids’ teeth as soon as their molars come in or their teeth touch. The very best way to help your children develop a flossing habit is to start early and be consistent. If you brush their teeth every day but only floss sporadically, they will get the message that flossing isn’t quite as important as brushing.
When you first begin flossing your child’s teeth, he or she will probably fight you a little bit. Don’t worry about how well you’re actually flossing the teeth at this point; just make sure you’re getting them used to the habit.
Be consistent and stress the importance of flossing, and by the time your child is a teenager, flossing will be a part of his or her daily routine.
If you would like to learn more about pediatric dental care not covered in our dental topics from Discovery Kids Pediatric Dentistry, please complete an online appointment request or phone 469-365-5437.