Your child’s dental health also affects their overall health and development. Instilling healthy habits from a young age, such as regular brushing and flossing, as well as regular cleanings and checkups can help prevent dental problems caused by poor oral hygiene and keep their teeth healthy and strong.
At Jonathan C. Wang DDS Inc. in Pleasanton, California, the dental care we provide also includes instructions on maintaining proper hygiene, advice on what oral hygiene products to choose, and diet tips that will give your child a lasting healthy smile.
When Should Children Start Brushing Their Teeth?
The development of your child’s teeth starts in the second trimester of your pregnancy. Children have twenty primary teeth and the first of these may erupt as early as six months after birth.
Your baby’s teeth need care as soon as they break through their gums. According to the American Dental Association, you should schedule your child’s first dental visit soon after their first tooth erupts and before their first birthday.
During this visit, Dr. Wang will check their teeth for decay and other conditions that may affect the proper development of their adult teeth, as well as advise you on what oral hygiene routines you should teach to your child.
- When your child is teething, gently clean their mouth and gums using a damp washcloth after feedings to keep bacteria at bay.
- When their first tooth erupts, brush it using baby toothpaste. They do not contain fluoride
- You can start flossing their teeth as soon as two teeth erupt one next to the other.
- For children between the ages of 3 and 6 years old , use a pea-sized quantity of fluoride toothpaste.
- Supervise your child’s brushing/flossing habits until they learn them properly and ensure they brush their teeth twice a day and floss no less than once a day preferably at night.
How to Brush and Floss Your Child’s Teeth?
Here is how you should brush your child’s teeth:
- Keep the toothbrush against their gums, hold it at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline, and brush in gentle circles using a soft, small child’s toothbrush
- Brush the chewing surface of the teeth.
- Gently brush the roof of their mouth and tongue from back to front.
- Ensure you brush all of their teeth in a session.
The steps for flossing your child’s teeth are as follows:
- Take a short strand of dental floss and twist both ends around your fingers for control.
- Be cautious not to apply too much pressure while using dental floss between your child’s teeth.
- Place the dental floss around each tooth in a “C” curve and slowly slide it between the child’s teeth, flossing each side of the tooth down to their gum line.
- Use a new dental floss section for each tooth to avoid reinserting plaque and food debris.
What Kind of Toothpaste Is Suitable for Children?
Dr. Wang recommends you use fluoride toothpaste once they are 3-years-old to maintain your child’s dental health. Brushing with this kind of toothpaste helps keep your child’s teeth strong and clean while also preventing cavities.
If necessary, Dr. Wang may also recommend fluoride treatment or supplements for your child.
Other Brushing Habits to Follow
- Teach your children not to brush too harshly as this may damage their enamel.
- Brushing should be done softly and slowly, for at least 2 minutes.
- You can add other products such as mouth rinse and mouthwash to their oral care regimen as advised by your dentist.
- Always buy dental care products that have the American Dental Association seal of approval.