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!