For the parents of small children, it’s natural to have a lot of questions. You want to take the best possible care of your child that you can, but there’s an endless amount of advice and information about the best way to do that. It can be hard to know the best way to do even simple tasks such as brushing your child’s teeth. This blog will clear up some of the confusion by answering common questions parents ask a family dentist in Selden about brushing. The great news is that by starting good hygiene habits early, you’re giving your child a great shot at having a healthy, strong smile for life!
How Often Should You Brush?
As soon as the first tooth appears, it’s a good idea to start gently brushing twice a day. You can either use a clean, damp washcloth wrapped around your finger or a special “teething” brush that’s extra gentle.
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recommend that you use either a light smear or a rice-sized amount of a fluoride toothpaste at this stage.
After the age of 3, you can begin using a pea-sized amount. Fluoride is crucial because it strengthens the enamel and prevents tooth decay – but less is more!
This simple act of brushing twice each day will get your child accustomed to the routine of cleaning their teeth and gums morning and night, which will make it much easier to instill the habit as they get older.
How Long Should You Brush?
The same as with adults, you should spend about 2 minutes brushing. For kids, it’s helpful to play a song for 2 minutes or use one of the many apps designed to make 2 minutes go by quickly!
Make sure to use very light, gentle pressure to avoid discomfort for your child. If you’re brushing for a full 2 minutes, you’ll get every tooth thoroughly clean without the need to be abrasive.
Where Should You Concentrate?
The back teeth are generally the most susceptible to getting cavities. One exception to this is baby-bottle tooth decay, which occurs when a child is put to bed with a bottle that has milk, formula, juice or anything with sugar (even milk has natural sugars).
Doing this causes severe decay on a child’s front teeth that requires major restorative work from a children’s dentist in Selden, so be sure to only use a pacifier or a bottle with water!
Having said that, the back teeth are generally where you should spend most of your time brushing. Also, flossing is necessary to clean in between any teeth that are touching.
For many children, their front teeth have natural spaces between them and only the back teeth touch. Thankfully, kids’ flossers are easier to use than string floss and make the job much easier.
Getting your child off to a great start with their hygiene habits is well worth the time and effort. You’re not only making sure they have good oral health in childhood, but throughout their entire lives!
About the Author
Dr. Stephen Scotto-Lavino knows that good oral health in childhood sets the stage for lifelong healthy smiles, so he always takes the time to educate parents about the best way to care for their child’s teeth. If you have any additional questions about oral hygiene for your child, he can be contacted via his website or at (631) 698-9400.