At the heart of your child’s dental care plan are their brushing habits at home. Since it is a task that must be done twice a day and it carries critical responsibilities towards their oral health, it is important to know the right and wrong ways of brushing. Oral hygiene should never be taken lightly as you raise your kids. There are a few mistakes that kids (and parents) unintentionally make when it comes to brushing teeth. The following three tips can make sure you are on the right track:
#1 More Is Not Always Better
If you are trusting commercials or magazine ads to guide you on how much toothpaste to use, you are likely being steered in the wrong direction. Contrary to that nice big swirly glob of toothpaste that you see on TV, your child only needs a fraction of that amount to effectively clean his or her teeth. In fact, between the ages of 3 and 6, only a “pea size” amount of toothpaste is required. If your child is younger than 3, just a smear is needed (or about the size of a grain of rice). While it may be fun for your child to watch the suds foam as you scrub their teeth, using too much toothpaste could be putting your child at risk for fluorosis, a harmful condition that where too much fluoride is consumed. It is important that your child can spit out all of the toothpaste after each brushing session. Also, remember that more force is not better either. Plaque is a sticky yet soft substance that can be effectively removed by gentle brushing strokes.
#2 It’s Not a Race
It may be tempting to rush through your child’s brushing session in order to get them too bed or avoid the battle. However, it is highly recommended that your child brush for two full minutes, twice a day. Set a timer or use a fun dental app to ensure your child stays the course and gets the job done in a thorough manner.
#3 Don’t Go Solo Too Soon
Although your child may be ready to start brushing and flossing alone, they need to be able to tie their own shoe or write in cursive before you should relinquish the duty. Brushing and flossing require a certain level of dexterity and coordination to be done properly.
Dental Care Goes Beyond Brushing
While dental hygiene plays a leading role in keeping teeth healthy and strong, there are other factors that can drastically influence one’s oral health. It is also important that you help your family understand how their dietary habits can impact the health of their smile.
Consuming drinks and foods that are high in sugars and acids can wreak havoc on their pearly whites, regardless of how well they brush and floss. Timing is also important. Constant snacking throughout the day puts teeth at greater risk for damage because sugars and acids are allowed to linger for long periods of time. Drinking water or brushing after meals is the best defense against these harmful substances.
Oral habits are another point of concern when it comes to keeping your child’s smile in top condition. Help them understand that teeth are for chewing food – not tearing open a package or biting their nails. In addition, if your child plays sports, it is your job to encourage a mouth guard. A staggering number of sports-related injuries in children involve the mouth. Protect their smile during hard play just like you would the rest of their body.
Need A Dentist for Your Entire Family?
At Group Health Dental, we value the need to educate parents and children on proper brushing habits and other ways to care for teeth at home. If you have concerns about whether or not your child is following a proper oral hygiene routine or establishing good oral habits at home, please let us know. We are happy to help your child achieve the healthiest and most confident smile possible as they grow. Our New York practice proudly treats every member of your family in one comfortable and convenient place.