Brushing is the essential step in removing plaque and disruptive bacteria from our teeth. When teeth first begin to emerge in your child’s mouth a wet washcloth will suffice in removing bacteria. It is best to ask your Hudson, WI pediatric dentist when to start brushing your child’s teeth with a toothbrush but typically within 6 months of first tooth present.
When selecting a toothbrush for your child bring them along for the purchase. The most important aspect of a toothbrush is that your child will actually use the toothbrush so make it a fun process for them. You’ll want a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush. This allows the toothbrush to access all areas of your child’s mouth and isn’t too harsh on their gums. Feel free to run the bristles under warm water before use to soften them up even more. You’ll want to brush your child’s teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. Continue to help your child brush up to age 8 years old, this is when the child can begin to brush on their own. Remember to replace their toothbrush up to every three months and after they have been sick. This is very important as the bristles can harbor harmful bacteria and lead to reinfection and gingivitis.
When it has come time for your child to start practicing brushing on their own there are a few techniques to instill.
- Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste
- Place tooth brush on an angle
- Brush front AND back of each tooth in circular motion
- Always spit out the toothpaste
- Brush tongue to remove odor-causing bacteria
Sometimes having them mimic you is a fun way for them to learn. Dr. Mancini and his staff can go over this during check-ups as well.
We recommend beginning to floss your child’s teeth as soon as two neighboring teeth emerge. Leading by example is best when it comes to flossing. If your child sees you floss every night they will be more likely to want to do the same. They will want to hug each tooth gently with the floss using a push- pull and up and down motion. Flossing gets rid of bacteria our toothbrush cannot reach. If we don’t floss we aren’t cleaning about 35% of the tooth’s surface.
We recommend visiting your Hudson, WI children’s dentist every six months for a check-up. This will help in the prevention of cavities and other dental problems.