Always monitor your child when they are brushing their teeth or flossing. Adults are supposed to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once or twice each day – and so are kids. We tell our parents that oral care is something they actually need to help manage until your child is about seven or eight years old. It is critical, however, for kids from a young age, to learn to, practice, and understand the importance of brushing their teeth properly and often. In fact, the daily routine of brushing one’s teeth is essential to overall health in general and must be instilled in children at a young age, even if this is difficult to achieve. And even your teens may need regular (annoying) reminders to brush and floss.
Here are a few tips to motivate your children to brush their teeth:
- Begin Early: Toddlers who are accustomed to having their teeth cleaned tend to be more responsive to learning how to brush their teeth themselves.
- Brush Your Teeth Together: Make teeth brushing a family activity. Young children love to imitate their parents and an effective way to encourage children to practice oral hygiene is to make the activity of teeth brushing an entire family ordeal.
- Let Your Child Pick A Toothbrush: Allowing a child to pick his or her own toothbrush helps make the process of learning how to take care of their teeth fun!
- Choose Child-Friendly Toothpaste: A multitude of kid-friendly toothpaste exist in a large assortment of colors and flavors. These fun and child tailored flavors tend to make brushing a more enjoyable task.
- Use Music: Music can aid in passing the time it takes to complete oral hygiene tasks.
An important recommendation from The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that children see a dentist by their first birthday, but some parents wait until their kids are much older. When you get them in early, we can educate you and your kids about proper home care and diet, and their visits are likely to be less stressful in the future. At first, you only need to wipe your baby’s teeth off with a wet cloth after he eats or drinks. You can “graduate” to a toothbrush, and as soon as your child has teeth that are touching, start flossing. Pediatric dentists see many children with cavities due to falling asleep with a bottle of milk or juice. Dentists encourage mothers to stop on-demand nighttime breastfeeding after the child’s first teeth come through.
Teething – between 3 and 9 months, your infant’s baby teeth will begin to erupt. Teething may make your child irritable or fussy and may cause restlessness, drooling or loss of appetite.
Pacifiers – sucking is a normal part of the development that is comforting to children well into their first years of life. In fact, sucking often brings comfort even after a child no longer needs to get nourishment from a breast or bottle.
Baby bottle tooth decay – this occurs when acid formed by bacteria on the teeth, from sugars in foods and beverages, damages the tooth enamel. This causes demineralization and eventually can lead to a cavity.
Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 40 percent of children have decayed by the time they reach kindergarten.
Have you ever wondered why the American Dental Association and your dentist recommend you come back every six months? It’s because regular dental visits are essential for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. And in between those examinations, it’s important that you work to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. Start by visiting your dentist regularly. Cavities are one of the biggest problems for our children, and most of the time, they’re preventable. While six months is the “standard” time between dental visits, if you or your children could be at higher risk for cavities, you might need to visit us more often. During your check-up appointment, your dentist or dental hygienist will likely evaluate the health of your gums, perform a head and neck examination and examine your mouth for any indications of oral cancer, diabetes or vitamin deficiencies.
Next, your dentist assesses the state of your teeth and gums by:
- Examining the gums
- Looking for signs of gum disease
- Checking for loose teeth
- Looking at the tissues inside of your mouth
- Examining your tongue
- Checking your bite
- Looking for visual evidence of tooth decay
- Checking for broken teeth
- Checking for damaged fillings
- Looking for changes in the gums covering teeth
- Evaluating any dental appliance you have
- Checking the contact between your teeth
- Taking X-rays
Do not be surprised if your dentist also examines your face, bite, saliva and movement of your lower jaw joints. Your dentist or dental hygienist will then clean your teeth.