This coming Sunday we celebrate Father’s Day, and Kitsap Kid’s Dentistry wants to thank all of the fantastic dads out there who help motivate, encourage, and love their kids every day. One of the biggest ways a Dad can show love and support for his children is by helping them, even with a simple task, like brushing teeth.
Dads, if your kid’s (and you!) need help with your home brushing habits and tooth care, here are some great tips and tricks that are good to know!
1. At Kitsap Kid’s Dentistry, we believe good oral hygiene should begin at an early age. An infant’s mouth can be cleaned after each feeding. Begin by cradling the head with one hand while using your free hand to wipe the baby’s mouth with a clean wet gauze, wet cloth, or xylitol wipe. A child’s teeth should be brushed or wiped as soon as the first tooth appears! You can also brush an infant’s teeth by wetting a soft-bristled, age-appropriate toothbrush with water. If fluoride toothpaste is considered before the child’s first birthday, it is best to first ask a dentist or pediatrician.
2. If fluoride toothpaste is used for children who have a moderate or high risk for tooth decay, apply a smear which is smaller amount of toothpaste than a pea-sized amount (less than 2 years old) and a pea-size amount (ages 2–5) to the toothbrush. Parents should brush the toddler’s teeth in the bathroom while the child is watching the parent.
3. Children 6–8 years of age may be capable of brushing by themselves. Parents should inspect their child’s teeth if they are unsure whether their child is missing certain areas in the mouth. If they are, show them! And then watch them go over the area again, making sure all plaque or food is removed, and that the tooth is clean. Battery-powered toothbrushes can also be used to gently remove sticky film from the teeth and gums.
4. Your kiddo’s toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months, or sooner if it is worn out or frayed. It is also a good idea to replace the toothbrush after a cold or flu to avoid reintroducing germs associated with those conditions.
5. Toddlers should spit the toothpaste out as best they can after tooth brushing with parental guidance, due to the fact that they are learning the expectoration process at this age, The addition of fluoride to your brushing routine, found in many kid friendly toothpastes, will enhance tooth enamel to and allow the enamel to become stronger. Children (ages 2 to 5) can rinse with a small amount of water after toothbrushing.
6. Last by not least, encourage your child to brush at least twice a day, morning and night, with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Harder bristles may be too abrasive for young children.