Keep Children’s Teeth Brushed and Healthy

By:  Vanessa Lee

“I lost my toothbrush,” “My arm is too tired,” “The sink is out of water.”  Sound familiar?  According to a recent national survey of parents, not brushing teeth tops the list of kid’s bad habits.  Making brushing fun and a good habit should start your young child on the right path to a healthy mouth.

Good oral care in children should begin as soon as that first tooth appears.  Not only is brushing and flossing essential in young children, it is great way to form good habits and start your child on the path to healthy teeth and a fewer cavities.

Dentists suggest that parents should begin caring for their children’s teeth as soon a tooth is noticed.  Brushing with a small children’s sized toothbrush with just a dab of toothpaste is best.  There are many great tasting children’s toothpastes available, however if your child does not like the toothpaste, you should still brush using a damp toothbrush.  Flossing becomes necessary when more than one tooth comes in.  Flossing between teeth will help prevent cavities, especially in children who drink a lot of juice and milk, or eat sugary treats. Many young children enjoy going to bed with a bottle or sippy cup.  Dentists suggest that bedtime drinks should be limited to water, and that your child’s teeth should be cared for prior to bedtime.

Brushing Right

It is important to properly brush your child’s teeth.  Brushing should be done both morning and night.  Start with a small toothbrush with soft bristles.  Apply a small amount of toothpaste.  Find a position that will give you the best access to your child’s teeth, such as standing behind them, or with the child on the counter top in front of you.  Set a timer for two minutes.  Not only will a timer help you know how long to brush, but it will make brushing fun for your child.  Start by brushing the back teeth first, and then rinse.  Brush the front teeth, and then floss using fine dental floss or a dental flosser.  Rinse again and then praise your child for a great job, and great teeth.

Make Brushing Fun

Brushing should be fun, and if made into a game or positive activity, will be less of a battle with your children.  Try finding games or activities that you can do while brushing.  You may want to try singing brushing songs to your child, or taking turns brushing their teeth and then letting them brush your teeth.  Let your child pick out a toothbrush and toothpaste that they will enjoy and want to use.  There are rinses available that help to attract food and germs that brushing may leave behind which actually tint the particles and leave them in the sink for your child to see, now what child wouldn’t think that is neat?

Your child should first visit the dentist at age 3.  Talk to your dentist about which products are best for your child, such as fluoride and other oral care rinses and pastes.  Remember brushing now prevents cavities later.