A Guide from Your Las Vegas General Dentist
As a parent you obviously want the very best for your children. The best schools, the best food, and the best smile! But it’s often easy to overlook properly teaching your child about their oral health. Since brushing properly is important to a child’s oral hygiene throughout their entire lives, Summerlin Dental wants to help you today with some simple and effective tips.
When Should I Start Brushing My Child’s Teeth?
You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as a week after they are born. Remember though, babies often don’t have teeth yet (unless they are born with natal teeth). To best wash a baby’s gums, don’t use a toothbrush or toothpaste. Instead get a soft damp washcloth and gently wipe your baby’s gums twice every day, preferably after feeding and before bedtime. This will wash off bacteria that if not removed can potentially lead to plaque which can be sticky and attach to baby teeth as they come in.
How Should I Brush Baby Teeth?
When a baby’s teeth first start growing you can switch out the washcloth for a gentle toothbrush and toothpaste. When selecting a baby’s toothbrush, find one with soft bristles, a small head, and a large handle. To start, simply wet the toothbrush and let your child get used to the feeling of brushing their teeth. Once they are between the ages of 1-3, you can start using toothpaste in globs the size of a grain of rice.
You should personally brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to hold the brush themselves. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance.
At these early stages of oral hygiene, make sure you are vigilant for signs of baby tooth decay, which can look like brown or white spots or pits on the teeth. If you or your pediatrician notices any problems take your child to a pediatric dentist for a checkup.
For more information on the early stages of dental health in young children, visit your local family dentist once your child is about one year old for advice on baby tooth care, teething, and other common needs of babies.
Steps to Take Once Your Child Can Brush Their Own Teeth
The first step to dental care once your child can brush their own teeth (usually about ages 6-8) is making sure your child can enjoy dental care.
First, take your child shopping with you when picking their toothbrush as letting them select their own toothbrush will make it feel like a reward that they get to brush their own teeth instead of a chore. Additionally, let them pick out flavored floss or floss picks.
After you have picked out your child’s toothbrush and floss, teaching your children how to properly brush while also making brushing fun is the next and most important step. To properly brush children’s teeth, make sure your child holds the brush at about a 45° angle towards the gums of the upper and lower teeth. The toothbrush should be moved gently in a circular, back-and-forth motion with short strokes along the teeth and gums. Lastly, make sure to brush the tongue to remove bacteria on the surface. Don’t forget to have your child brush for a full two minutes and brush twice every day.
When it comes to flossing, children should start flossing once their teeth begin to grow next to each other. To properly floss a child’s teeth, have them twine one end of the floss to their index and other end to their thumb. Place the floss in a C-shape between each tooth gently move the floss up and down each side of the child’s teeth. It is important to floss at least once a day after brushing, as plaque and food can settle between the teeth.
Making it All Fun for Your Child
Getting your child engaged with brushing their teeth may seem like a daily struggle. Here are some points we have found to work best with helping our younger patients.
- Reward Them with Prizes – Children don’t usually need much in the way of rewards. Create or buy an activity sticker reward board to track every day that your child brushes their teeth and get them a small reward for every consecutive week.
- Is it Something They Have to Do – Just as eating or sleeping, make it clear that brushing their teeth is simply something that your child needs to do every day. This way, even if it is still not their favorite thing, they will understand it is something they are responsible for.
- Toy Tooth Brushing Buddy – Kids love stuffed animals, so why not try getting them a little buddy for them when they brush their teeth? Get their favorite toy and give it its own mini toothbrush so your child can play pretend with their toy to brush their teeth alongside their buddy.
- Find a Dentist that Will Makes Friends with Your Child – Kids need a general dentist that understands their needs and makes them feel at ease. When your child enjoys their time with their dentist, they will feel more inclined to up keeping good dental hygiene.
Summerlin Dental: One of Las Vegas’ Highest Rated Family Dental Practices
To learn more great ways to improve your families’ dental health, Summerlin Dental asks you to call us at (702) 228-2218 or visit our appointment page today: https://summerlindental.net/#book_apt