Seeing as how February is Children’s Oral Health Month, we wanted to provide some helpful tips on keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy:
- Your child’s teeth should be cleaned as soon as they emerge as a baby. By starting early, your baby will get used to the feel of brushing and will become familiar with the daily routine.
- Choose a small, child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. (To further soften the bristles, you can soak the toothbrush in warm water for a few minutes before brushing.)
- Hold off on using fluoride toothpaste until your child is about 2 years old or can spit extra out and not swallow it. For those under 2, simply use plain water or special fluoride-free toothpaste for young children.
- Use a small amount of toothpaste on your child’s toothbrush – about the size of a green pea, or your child’s pinky fingernail.
- Help your child place the toothbrush at an angle against their gums. Then be sure they move the brush back and forth, gently, in short strokes.
- Follow the 2min2x rule. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day – in the morning and right before bedtime, for two minutes each time. Brush the front, back and top of their teeth, as well as their tongue. Be sure to concentrate a good portion of the time on back molars, where cavities often first develop.
- Replace your child’s toothbrush (and your own!) every 3-4 months. Sooner if it shows signs of wear or if they have been sick.
- Start flossing your child’s teeth once per day as soon as two of their teeth touch each other.
- The use of floss picks instead of regular string floss may be easier for both you and your child.
- Hold floss tightly against the tooth and gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss or flosser away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat between each and every tooth.
Most children lack the coordination to brush or floss their teeth effectively. Give them a turn with the brush, but afterward you should always brush your child’s teeth a second time. Remember that the best way to teach children how to brush their teeth is to lead by example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene.