Parents often wonder when to begin brushing their child’s teeth, be confused about the most effective brushing technique or wonder if it’s okay to use fluoride toothpaste. Below are some suggestions from Vancouver children’s dentist to answer some questions you may be asking once your child’s first tooth emerges.
When should you begin brushing your child’s teeth, by starting as soon as that first tooth emerges allows you child to become accustomed to it as part of the daily routine. Use a soft washcloth wrapped around your finger in the beginning before you replace it with a toothbrush.
The Right Toothbrush should be a small child sized brush with soft bristles, soaking it in warm water will help soften the bristles even more. Some dentists suggest changing to a toothbrush as soon as 4 teeth have emerged, others advise switching at 2 or 3 years of age. Replace the toothbrush every 3 or 4 months or if it shows signs of wear and never share toothbrushes with anyone else.
Toothpaste with fluoride can be used, start with an amount that is the size of a grain of rice at first, once your child is 3 years old increase it to a pea sized amount.
Flossing can be added to the routine as soon as your child has two teeth that are touching, the use of flossing sticks or picks may be easier for both of you that regular string floss.
Fluoride Rinse once your child is 6 years old a fluoride rinse can be added to be helpful in preventing cavities.
Fluoride Supplements are a good idea especially if your water supply is not fluoridated or you may want to consider supplements with fluoride or those treatments when visiting the dentist.
How Often to Brush brush your child’s teeth twice a day, once in the morning then again just before bedtime.
Proper Technique spend 2 minutes each time you brush, using a child friendly timer may make the experience more fun for your child. Hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, make up and down motions with short strokes. Brush outer and inner surfaces, be sure to concentrate on the back molars as this is the area cavities are most likely to occur, finish by brushing the tongue.
On Their Own your child is not ready to begin brushing their own teeth until the age of 6 or 7 years of age, until then they lack the coordination to do it properly. Lead by example by letting them watch you, make it a family activity. Showing them the importance of good oral health and hygiene and as a parent starting them on the road to a lifetime of good health.