Oral Hygiene for Kids
It can be a challenge to get our children to brush, brush well, and brush often. Here are some tips that can help you keep those beautiful little teeth healthy.
The most important time to brush is at night before bed. When we sleep, our saliva production decreases, and this creates an environment for oral bacteria to cause greater destruction to our teeth and gums. Ideally, your child should brush at least two minutes twice per day, followed by flossing.
Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, the gums can benefit from your careful attention. After breast- or bottle-feeding, wrap one finger with a clean, damp washcloth or piece of gauze and gently rub it across your baby’s gum tissue. This practice both clears your little one’s mouth of any fragments of food and begins the process for building good daily oral care habits.
When your baby’s teeth start to erupt, it’s time to incorporate a toothbrush into your hygiene routine. Start by getting into a position that gives you control and enables you to see well into your child’s mouth. If you can see clearly, you will be able to maneuver the toothbrush better around your child’s mouth for a better quality of brushing.
Using a circular motion, brush all sides of their teeth. Be sure to let your toddler have a turn after you’re done so they can get used to brushing on their own. This way, he or she is more likely to repeat the brushing and flossing exercise when they are old enough.
The only way to get better at something is to practice, practice, and practice. Have your child practice brushing on his or her favorite stuffed animal, and use that opportunity to teach your youngster how to hold the brush and use circular cleaning motions. Showing how you brush your own teeth can also be worthwhile.
Kids love the responsibility of making “big kid” decisions. Keep a variety of toothbrushes, colors of floss, and toothpaste flavors on hand so they can choose something “new” each time they brush.
Flossers are great for older children with better dexterity. They have a horseshoe shape on one end with floss in between. You can make a choice for individual preference with color, handle size, or shape to suit your child’s needs.
Choosing a Toothbrush
The most important thing to consider is your child’s age and stage of development. Up until age ten, your child will not have the dexterity to adequately brush or floss independently. Automatic toothbrushes are highly appropriate for all ages. Brushing quality improves when using a battery-powered toothbrush. Use it together with your child, and always play an active role in your child’s oral home care.
The important things to remember when you seek to establish good brushing habits is to keep it fun and stay consistent with your routine. It may take some getting used to, but after a while, your child will become familiar with brushing and might even look forward to their new dental routine.