Here at Dr. Fred Blum & Associates, we know how frustrating it is to try to find the best dental products for your child. Each time you visit a dental aisle in your grocery store, you are bombarded by the endless choices for toothbrushes, mouthwash, and toothpaste.
We want to help you to make this process easier and help your child develop good oral hygiene habits early on.
When choosing dental products for your child, it is important that you consider how old they are. You always want to make sure that you assist your child with brushing and flossing until they can do it effectively on their own.
When do you start brushing your baby’s teeth?
You can begin cleaning your baby’s teeth at 6 months of age. Use a soft cloth to wipe the gums. This will get your child used to the sensation of brushing, and it will remove the harmful bacteria.
At 18 months, you can switch to a soft toothbrush and a pea-size amount of fluoride-free toothpaste.
How to select a toothbrush for your child?
When selecting a toothbrush for your child, it is helpful to use the rule of thumb. The head of the toothbrush should be approximately the size of your child’s thumb. This assures that the toothbrush will be able to clean the hard to reach places.
If your child can tolerate it, a battery-powered toothbrush is a great option. It will help to remove plaque and bacteria much better than a manual toothbrush.
How to choose the right toothpaste for your child?
Toothpaste varies greatly by flavors and by ingredients. When your child is young, you want to choose a flavor that is appealing to them. Children like to brush more if they enjoy the flavor that lingers in their mouth after brushing.
Until your child is able to spit out the toothpaste, make sure that you select a fluoride-free toothpaste that is safe to swallow.
Children develop the ability to spit at around 3, at which point you will want to transition them to using fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps to prevent cavities and limits the growth of oral bacteria.
If your child has sensitive teeth, you can use anti-sensitivity toothpaste. It contains potassium nitrate which helps with sensitive teeth.
Always remember to supervise your child to prevent them from swallowing toothpaste
When should your child start flossing their teeth?
Very much like brushing, it is important that your child will develop a habit of flossing at a young age. Flossing will keep your child’s teeth healthy and free from plaque and cavities.
Most children will be able to start flossing between the ages of two and six, or when their teeth start fitting closely together. If your child is on the younger side of this age range, you will need to floss with them until they learn how to properly do it on their own.
Another great option is to use flossers for children. Flossers have different-sized handles to fit all ages and are much easier for children to use.
When is my child ready for mouthwash?
Mouthwash is not recommended for children younger than six.
It can be tricky for younger kids to get used to mouthwash, as it involves swishing the liquid rather than swallowing it like a beverage. Before you introduce mouthwash to your child, you want to make sure to run a simple test to make sure they are ready.
To do that, have your child take a sip of water, swish it around his mouth and then spit it out into the sink. If your child can handle rinsing with water, he is most likely ready to start using mouthwash.
Most of all it is important to create positive experiences for your child, as they get used to new products and techniques. The more your child enjoys their daily routine, the more likely they are to develop good oral hygiene habits as adults.
If you’re still unsure which toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, or mouthwash your child should be using, contact our office. When it comes to helping your children develop healthy oral hygiene habits, Dr. Fred Blum & Associates is always here to help.
February is Children’s Oral Health Month!
We want the best for our kids, and oral health is a big part of their physical wellbeing. That’s why we treasure the opportunity to give your children healthy smiles. Today, we’ve got some tips on how to make sure that your little ones’ teeth are as healthy as possible.
Kids may lose their baby teeth, but they still need oral care that is as thorough and regular as their adult teeth will receive.
Healthy gums are essential for good oral health, and permanent teeth begin developing long before they make their presence known. According to the CDC, cavities from tooth decay is one of the most common sources of chronic illness in children.
Children with poor oral health may develop discomfort that distracts them from learning and playing, but the good news is that this is preventable with a little vigilance on the part of guardians and instilling good habits in kids while they’re small.
Your dentist can prescribe protective measures to help, like dental sealants on the surfaces of the teeth, which help guard against cavities for years.
Not only do sugary foods contribute to poor nutrition, but they are also terrible for children’s oral health.
Sticky foods adhere to dental enamel, wearing it down and contributing to plaque buildup, which causes decay. One of the very worst foods you can give kids as snacks are raisins, as they are both sticky and sugary, so use them in moderation.
Try apple slices instead, and make sure your children drink plenty of water to rinse their mouths and stay well-hydrated.
Studies conducted by the CDC indicate a strong link between children who drink fluoridated water or brush with fluoridated toothpaste have stronger teeth with fewer cavities. Once kids are old enough to brush, rinse, and spit on their own, give them a fluoride rinse to use before bed.
To drink, we recommend tap water, so they get the included fluoride for their developing permanent teeth. If you use bottled, filtered, or distilled water, consider a fluoride supplement prescribed by your dentist.
Even when they are a baby, brush your children’s teeth for them so they are used to the feeling. Before their teeth come in, gently wipe their gums with a soft, damp cloth after each feeding and before bed.
When their teeth start to emerge, use a soft brush and fluoridated water. Be very gentle- teething makes little ones’ gums tender. Introduce your child to the dentist early to spot any problems before they get worse and to assure your child that the dentist is a friend.
Don’t forget to floss!
Make sure that your kids know how to floss properly in a gentle J-shaped motion to clean the teeth and gums. When they’re able to brush their own teeth, brush and floss yours at the same time so they learn to model your good habits.
Most importantly, a good example, from you at home, is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children in any area of life. Show them good examples by taking care of your own teeth, too!
As grown-ups, we realize that our teeth require consistent care. Starting proper dental habits when children are very young translates into better oral health for life. Truth be told, the disregard of a kid’s teeth and general oral wellbeing can have genuine results that could last well into adulthood.
Here is a tip to make sure your kids are brushing correctly and taking care of their teeth as they grow. The American Dental Association’s recommendation is to stand behind your young children and have them look up at you in the mirror as brushing time daily. This causes the mouth to hang open more for better reach and allows them to emulate you to learn to brush properly.
It is also important to educate your children that certain kinds of foods and beverages can cause discoloring or decay. The ADA Healthline.com website suggests being careful and educated with the following:
It’s not surprising that candy is bad for your mouth. But sour candy contains more and different kinds of acids that are tougher on your teeth. Plus, because they’re chewy, they stick to your teeth for a longer time, so they’re more likely to cause decay. If you’re craving sweets, grab a square of chocolate instead, which you can chew quickly and wash away easily.
Think twice as you walk down the supermarket bread aisle. When you chew bread, your saliva breaks down the starches into sugar. Now transformed into a gummy paste-like substance, the bread sticks to the crevices between teeth. And that can cause cavities. When you’re craving some carbs, aim for less-refined varieties like whole wheat. These contain less added sugars and aren’t as easily broken down.
We all know that little, if any, good comes from soda or pop, even if it’s got the word “diet” on the can. A recent study even found that drinking large quantities of carbonated soda could be as damaging to your teeth as using methamphetamine and crack cocaine. Carbonated sodas enable plaque to produce more acid to attack tooth enamel. So if you sip soda all day, you’re essentially coating your teeth in acid. Plus it dries out your mouth, meaning you have less saliva. And last but not least, dark-colored sodas can discolor or stain your teeth. A note: don’t brush your teeth immediately after drinking a soda; this could actually hasten decay.
In their natural form, coffee and tea can be healthy beverage choices. Unfortunately, too many people can’t resist adding sugar. Caffeinated coffee and tea can also dry out your mouth. Frequent drinks of coffee and tea may also stain your teeth. If you do consume, make sure to drink plenty of water and try to keep the add-ons to a minimum.
Oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are tasty as both fruits and juices and are packed with vitamin C. But their acid content can erode enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to decay. Even squeezing a lemon or lime into water adds acid to a drink. Plus, acid from citrus can be bothersome to mouth sores. If you want to get a dose of their antioxidants and vitamins, eat and drink them in moderation at mealtime and rinse with water afterwards.
The crunch of a potato chip is eternally satisfying to many of us. Unfortunately, they’re loaded with starch, which becomes sugar that can get trapped in and between the teeth and feed the bacteria in the plaque. Since we rarely have just one, the acid production from the chips lingers and lasts awhile. After you’ve gorged on a bag, floss to remove the trapped particles.
You likely assume that dried fruits are a healthy snack. That may be true, but many dried fruits — apricots, prunes, figs, and raisins, to name a few — are sticky. They get stuck and cling in the teeth and their crevices, leaving behind lots of sugar. If you do like to eat dried fruits, make sure you rinse your mouth with water, and then brush and floss after. And because they’re less concentrated with sugar, it is a better choice to eat the fresh versions instead!
There’s no doubt a cold sports drink is refreshing after a good workout. But these drinks are usually high in sugar. Like soda or candy, sugary sports drinks create an acid attack on the enamel of your teeth. Drinking them frequently can lead to decay. A better way to for your kids to stay hydrated after sports or play is to chug sugar-free, calorie-free water.
Source: ADA Healthline.com and WebMD.com