When it comes to your child’s good oral health, you can help keep their teeth and gums strong and healthy by providing balanced, nutritious meals and snacks, taking them to visit their pediatric dentist twice a year, as well as ensuring they are brushing and flossing regularly. Additionally, instructing your child on proper tooth brushing techniques is also important to help them develop good oral hygiene habits and maintain a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.
Most pediatric dentists recommend cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they erupt. Regular cleaning of your child’s teeth – at least twice a day – is a key component to reducing tooth decay and is a great way to promote the importance of good oral hygiene to your kids. By getting your children involved in their own oral healthcare at a young age, there is a greater chance they will form beneficial habits that last.
Unsure of which tooth brushing technique is most appropriate for your child’s teeth? With all the different techniques available, your child’s pediatric dentist may be your best resource in determining which one is the most suitable for your child’s teeth. When it comes to tooth brushing, the most important thing to remember is that all of the tooth surfaces need to be thoroughly cleaned. This includes the chewing surfaces, the outer and inner surfaces, as well as between the teeth. Many dental professionals recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush and holding it at a 45 degree angle along the gumline while brushing. A thorough brushing usually takes about 3 minutes, and depending on the age of your child, should be followed by flossing once a day. And remember, until your child is old enough to maneuver a toothbrush and dental floss correctly – and thoroughly clean all of the tooth surfaces – their teeth cleaning routine should be supervised or performed for them. A fun way to monitor your child’s brushing routine is to brush your own teeth alongside them. Setting a good example is a great way to help begin good habits.
It’s never too early to begin a good oral hygiene routine. By getting your kids involved in their own dental care early on, they are more likely to develop and maintain healthy habits. And scheduling regular visits with a pediatric dentist at an early age (usually by age one or as soon as the first tooth appears) may help alleviate some of the apprehensions kids may have about dental visits. Additionally, there are many books, videos, and on-line resources available to help teach kids about the importance of oral healthcare. Sometimes even a simple thing like allowing them to select their own toothbrushes can begin a healthy habit.
And as Dr. Cobb always says: good oral hygiene habits, combined with healthy food choices and bi-annual checkups, are the best ways to prevent tooth decay.