Everyone needs to brush and floss. From the moment your child’s first baby teeth emerge, they need daily cleaning and care. Regular brushing is the only way to disrupt the buildup of plaque and keep the teeth free of tartar and decay. With care and consistency, you can help your child establish good oral hygiene habits that will protect their teeth for the rest of their lives, by providing age-appropriate care.
Your baby’s first teeth
Even before their first teeth emerge, you can begin gently cleaning their gums in the morning and evening using a moistened washcloth wrapped around your finger. Regular cleaning will help get them used to the routine. Make sure to be gentle as you use the washcloth to rub their gums. After their first teeth emerge, you can continue to use the washcloth to clean them.
About one year
Once your child has molars or several teeth close together, you should switch to using a toothbrush and toothpaste. Continue to brush twice daily, after waking up and before going to sleep. Choose a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles, and a children’s toothpaste that your child will like. Use a tiny bit of toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. Brush your child’s teeth carefully and thoroughly, focusing on the molars. If they have teeth that touch, floss between them as part of your routine. There are many tools, such as floss sticks, that can make it easier to floss a child’s teeth.
With care and consistency, you will teach your child establish good oral hygiene habits that will last a lifetime. We can help teach those healthy habits and provide age-appropriate dental care.
Make sure to keep your child’s toothbrush in good condition. It should be replaced every few months, once it starts to show signs of wear. Toothbrushes should not be shared; make sure to use a different brush for each child.
Also, make sure to let your child see you brush and floss your own teeth. Children love to imitate their parents, so it’s a good idea to teach them that brushing is something mommy and daddy do too.
As your child gets older, you can increase to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Teaching them to spit the toothpaste out instead of swallowing it is an important step toward independence. You should continue to brush and floss your child’s teeth for them; most children at this age do not have the coordination to properly clean their teeth themselves. Continue to demonstrate good oral hygiene habits and explain to them why it’s important to brush their teeth.
Six to seven years
Once your child has demonstrated that they can brush and floss their teeth properly on their own, they should be encouraged to do so regularly. A child this age can also begin to use mouthwash. Smile Time Kids is happy to help you choose a rinse that is right for your child.
Keep it up!
The most important part of teaching your child to care for their teeth is consistency. Establish a regular, daily routine that includes tooth brushing and flossing. The more regular and consistent your routine, the more likely they are to continue it. With care and diligence, your child will learn good oral hygiene habits to last a lifetime.