Why Proper Dental Hygiene for Children Is Essential

by on August 9, 2018
Posted in blog

Dental Hygiene for Children Is EssentialThe sooner you start to encourage proper dental hygiene in your children, the easier it will be for them to develop good oral care habits. Tooth decay, or dental caries, is one of the most common types of chronic childhood diseases. In severe cases, tooth decay can become so bad that children will actually lose their teeth.The good news for parents is tooth decay and cavities are both preventable.

How Soon Should Oral Care Begin?

Most children will start to get their first teeth when they are between six and nine months old. By the time they are around age 3, many children have around 20 teeth. However, oral care should begin prior to your child ever developing their teeth.

From birth through about one year of age, you should already be cleaning your child’s gums twice a day – once in the morning after breakfast and again at night after their evening meal. To clean the gums you just use washcloth that has been dampened in water.

Once their first tooth erupts and starts to appear, then you will want to use a baby toothbrush and water. You should avoid toothpaste until they are at least a year old. In addition, you will want to schedule their first dental checkup after their first tooth erupts.

From ages 1 to 3, you will want to choose a toothpaste that made especially for toddlers, since they have a hard time rinsing, swishing water around in their mouths and spitting it out. After the age of 4 or when the child can reliably spit out the toothpaste, it is okay to use a child-friendly fluoride toothpaste.

Teaching Your Child to Brush Their Teeth

Parents will need to help their toddlers and young children with brushing. You should use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Holding the brush at an angle, gently brush in a circular motion while also moving the brush back and forth. Ideally, you will want to brush using the following techniques:

  1. Start in the same area each time you brush.
  2. Break brushing down into quadrants – upper-left, upper-right, lower-left, and lower-right.
  3. Brush the front sections and back sections for 15 seconds each.
  4. The front teeth should be brush separately from the four quadrants.
  5. The tongue should be brushed to help remove bacteria from the mouth.

For example, you would want to brush the back side of your child’s upper-left teeth for 15 seconds, then brush the front side for another 15 seconds. Then you would repeat this process for each quadrant. Lastly, you would brush the front teeth – upper and lower for about 15 seconds on the front side and another 15 seconds on the back side. Finally, use the brush to gently brush their tongue.

If you practice good oral care habits with your child, by the time they are 6 or 7, they should be brushing on their own. For help teaching your child good oral care habits or to schedule their first dental checkup, please feel free to contact Kennedy Square Dental at (905) 789-7339 today!

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