Good habits start early!
From brushing every day to regular dental visits, it takes a lot to properly care for a child’s teeth. Yet, few things are more important for building lifelong health and smiles children can be proud of. TrueCare makes it easy with our comprehensive pediatric dental services designed especially for children from birth to adulthood.
Dental Hygiene Tips from Our Pediatric Dentists
1. Start Brushing Early
It’s never too early to start brushing – even if your child’s first tooth has yet to erupt. Gently brushing the gums with a soft toothbrush designed for infants can keep them clean and help relieve some of the discomfort that comes with pushing out new teeth. If your infant child already has at least one tooth, start brushing now, twice a day. It’s okay to brush with just water during the early months but start flossing daily as soon as your child has multiple teeth.
Learn more helpful tips and facts that can set your child up for a healthy smile for life.
2. Use the Right Toothbrush
To provide a comfortable brushing experience for your child, use a toothbrush that fits his or her mouth and teeth. A brush head of ½ to 1 inch in length should easily fit most children. Using a brush with soft bristles will add to the comfort and effectiveness of the cleaning process. Bristles can wear out sooner than you expect, even with gentle brushing, so pay attention to their condition at all times. As soon as the bristles start to droop or look worn, replace the toothbrush.
Purchasing a toothbrush with a favorite character or fun color, will make brushing a fun activity for your child. At the appropriate age, let your child choose the color or character to develop a sense of ownership of the toothbrush.
3. Develop Good Brushing Habits
Correct brushing habits produce healthy teeth. This means brushing thoroughly, correctly and for the recommended amount of time.
Children up to age two may not have the spatial awareness or hand-eye coordination to thoroughly brush all areas of their teeth. Parents need to do the brushing for them until they develop the skills to brush on their own.
How long should they brush? Pediatric dentists recommend a minimum of two minutes, although adding extra time can lead to a more thorough brushing. Use a simple timer or clock to verify the time. Find ways to get the child involved in the timing process, such as turning over a small hourglass or setting the timer on your cell phone. Playing a child’s favorite song that lasts at least two minutes also offers a fun way to brush the proper amount of time.
Find more brushing tips and mistakes to avoid with this infographic.
4. First Tooth = First Dental Appointment
The first tooth that erupts—usually around 6 months of age—is a big event for the parents and the infant. It also signals the time has come for the child’s first dental visit. Making an appointment as soon as possible will help establish good dental habits early and get a head start on any potential oral health issues that may have developed since birth. From here on out, it’s check-ups and dental cleanings every six months.
5. Say No to Sugar
Sugary drinks, especially those made with high fructose corn syrup, should be avoided as long as possible. Processed sugars break down the protective enamel on the teeth and are a leading source of cavities in children of all ages. They can also cause illness, infection, and other health problems. Even if you’re great at brushing, reducing sweet drinks will help improve your child’s dental hygiene and oral health. Start by substituting water for one sugary drink each day until you’ve reduced the intake of these beverages as much as possible.
6. Be Consistent!
When it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene, consistency is key. Take your child to the dentist early and regularly. Brush twice and floss once – every day. Minimize sweets and unhealthy beverages, and practice proper brushing techniques to optimize dental health. When you practice the basics of good dental hygiene on a consistent basis, your child is far more likely to develop healthier teeth and maintain good brushing habits into adulthood.
Our services include cleanings, fluoride treatments, fillings, and more for the entire family, allowing you to lead by example in showing your kids the value of good dental hygiene. TrueCare’s dental health services are available in Oceanside, Perris, Ramona, and San Marcos. Our mobile dental services bring TrueCare to the Encinitas and Mission Mesa locations. New patients are always welcome.