Tips for Brushing
Kids generally do not like to brush their teeth, but dental health care is incredibly important at this age. It is critical for eating, speaking, and their general development. Kids are highly affected by oral health issues. In fact, about 20% of children aged five to eleven have at least one untreated cavity. Cavities affect their health and various areas of life. Ensuring good dental hygiene through brushing is a great way to combat this. At Sierra Kids Dentistry, our pediatric dentists can provide necessary dental care information and ensure that your child’s teeth remain in good health.
The Importance of Brushing
Dental health issues can lead to a variety of other health complications including cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, diabetes, stroke, and arthritis. Brushing teeth helps to prevent these issues by removing food, plaque, and bacteria that get stuck on the teeth. Bacteria from these can break down tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay and other health complications. Unremoved plaque can also harden into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove. This can lead to inflammation and gum disease.
Proper Brushing Techniques
The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice daily for two minutes at a time using a fluoride toothpaste. For younger children (less than three years old), use a dab that is roughly the same size as a grain of rice. For ages three through six, you can use a pea-sized dab of toothpaste. Also make sure your child uses a toothbrush with soft bristles. Bristles that are damaged or coarse can irritate the gums.
Make It Enjoyable and Easy
When children start brushing their own teeth, you will need to show them how to hold a toothbrush, the proper brushing motion, how to spit the toothpaste out, and how long to brush. Children may need toothbrushes with thick handles or straps to make them easier to hold onto. Watch your child to make sure they use the right brushing motion and clean all of their teeth. If they cannot spit the toothpaste, have them lean forward and help them wipe their mouth with a washcloth. Make sure they do not swallow the toothpaste.
To ensure they brush for two minutes, you should at least use a timer. However, many children prefer a two minute song to time their brushing. You could also read them a short story while they brush their teeth. Making this time fun for them will help brushing seem less of a chore and more like just another part of their daily routine.
You should also engage your child in the process. Have them go with you to pick out a toothbrush. Teach them about the importance of brushing using fun activities or stories told by their favorite characters, such as those on Sesame Street. Make sure you include this as part of a routine so your child can get used to it and engage much easier. You can also reward good brushing behavior with praise, stickers, picking out a bedtime story, or other fun activities.
Pediatric dentists can also give you advice about childhood tooth brushing. To get more information on this, call Sierra Kids Dentistry at (775) 473-1247 today.