Feb. 23, 2012 at 1:23pm
Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth
Making a Dental Health Plan for Your Kids
When do I start flossing? How often should I brush? When should I start looking for a dentist?
There is so much to think about when it comes to kids. Figuring out the appropriate health routines can be enough to drive you crazy. Below are the basics for making a dental health plan for your child so that you can get them started on the right path to strong, healthy teeth.
When is it time to start thinking about dental care?
As soon as your child’s first tooth comes in (around 4-10 months old). You can begin cleaning these teeth by wiping them with a moist washcloth or wet gauze.
When is it time to start using a toothbrush?
Once your child has several teeth, you can begin to use a soft child's toothbrush. You should use just a pea-size amount of a fluoride toothpaste or a non-fluoride toothpaste until your child is able to spit it out (too much fluoride can stain their teeth).
How often should I brush?
Brush at least twice a day - after breakfast and before bedtime. If you can, brush after lunch or sweet snacks as well. Spend two or three minutes brushing. If it helps, try playing a song to pass the time.
When should I start taking my child to the dentist?
When they are 6-12 months old. If your child doesn't have any risk factors for developing cavities, such as sleeping with a cup or bottle that has anything other than water in it, you can probably wait until your child’s first birthday.
How often should a toothbrush be replaced?
Dentists recommended that you change your toothbrush (or toothbrush head) every three months. Visit your dentist for a checkup every six months and you’ll usually get a free one. Some toothbrushes come with bristles that change color when it’s time to change them.
When should I start flossing my child’s teeth?
When children’s teeth start to touch - that can be as young as one year - you should start flossing. Parents should continue to supervise how well their kids are flossing even after they begin doing it themselves. Always floss before you brush.
What do I do if my child hates toothpaste?
Try brushing their teeth with a flavored, kid-friendly toothpaste. If they still don’t like it, try cutting down on the amount of toothpaste you’re using (a pea-sized amount is fine) or just resort to the plain, wet toothbrush. If you start to see a buildup of stain or plaque, and you can’t get the teeth clean enough, you’ll need to think about going to back to using toothpaste.
Troubleshooting as they get older:
When you start to teach your children how to brush their teeth, don’t assume one lesson is all it will take. You have to supervise what they’re doing until you know they can do it correctly on their own. While they’re still learning, let them brush your teeth and you brush their teeth. Then have them check your mouth, and you check their mouth. Learning together is always a good thing.
Dr. Susan Kim of Factoria Pediatric Dentistry will be at the Museum on Friday, February 24th from 11am-Noon to teach us more about teeth and visiting the dentist. Come check it out!