If you are like most parents, getting your child to brush their teeth may feel more like pulling those teeth.
The novelty of having a new toothbrush and getting your child excited to take care of their teeth might fade quickly, but brushing habits are very important to establish good oral health – not just in childhood, but throughout their adult lives.
The key is to introduce brushing early on and to make it a habit that they get used to. Some dentists recommend that you begin brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they begin to erupt. The earlier you can establish the habit, however, the less resistance you will likely get from your child.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth
There are a number of things you can do to help your child develop good oral habits. Some of these include:
- Choose a small toothbrush that is soft and make sure to soak the bristles before using them on the teeth. Brushing teeth should not be uncomfortable, or your little one will likely try to avoid it.
- Fluoride toothpaste is essential to your child’s oral health, but it needs to be used in moderation for their safety. All you need is about the size of a grain of rice for babies and a pea-sized amount for your child after the age of three.
- You should brush your child’s teeth twice a day, once in the morning and then again before bed. Using a timer, make sure that they spend a minimum of two minutes brushing. They should use great care with their molars because that is often where dental caries (cavities) develop.
- Replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months, or even sooner if they are sick. If the brush begins to show signs that it is wearing down, replace it; don’t ever allow your children to share a toothbrush.
- Flossing should start as soon as your child has more than one adjacent tooth. Instead of using the string kind, get the little picks and show them how to floss their own teeth so that they can establish good habits.
- Ask your dentist if fluoride treatments are a good idea. You might not need them if you have heavily fluoridated water, but only your dentist can guide you in the right direction. It might also be necessary for you to give your child fluoride supplements if your water doesn’t contain enough.
- Consider dental sealants; they can help to prevent dental caries by protecting the surfaces of the teeth that do the majority of chewing. They can protect your child’s teeth from tooth decay.
Brushing is an essential part of good oral health. The earlier that you introduce it into your child’s daily habits, the better. Although it may seem like one more thing that you have to get onto them about, it is well worth it to establish good patterns in the beginning, so that they will practice good oral hygiene for a lifetime.
St. Louis Pediatric Dentistry
Scheduling regular visits to the dentist for your child is important. At The Dental Anesthesia Center, we work hard to make your child feel at ease by providing exceptional patient care in a relaxed, convenient atmosphere.
Some children who are experiencing anxiety and are unable to cooperate for needed dental treatment can benefit from anesthesia services. Please call us today to schedule your appointment at (314) 862-7844. We look forward to meeting you and your child!