Pediatric dentists and parents alike agree on the importance of starting children on the right path to good oral hygiene. Learning good dental habits doesn’t necessarily start in the dentist’s office, however, but at home. It is just as important for kids to learn the right way to practice great dental habits at home as it is for them to see the pediatric dentist regularly.
Brushing several times a day, after meals and snacks, is recommended. Dentists suggest that children start brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush, moving it in circles around the teeth, not straight up and down, in order to reach between the teeth, and remove any remaining food particles. Angling the brush will allow it to reach under the gum line. Parents should encourage their children to take plenty of time, move slowly, and brush every part of their mouth thoroughly, including their tongue in order to have a clean, fresh mouth.
If your child wears braces, your pediatric dentist will recommend using a proxabrush. It is specially designed to work around the wires, and fasteners, to get between the teeth. It will keep metal appliances clean, at the same time.
Of course, younger children will need some parental supervision when it comes to brushing, to make sure they use the toothpaste sparingly and that they rinse well to avoid swallowing any of it. While toothpaste is generally nontoxic, accidentally swallowing too much fluoride can cause enamel fluorosis.
Brushing alone may not get rid of every hidden food particle, so flossing takes over where brushing leaves off. Children should start by using a soft, flexible flossing product that won’t irritate their gums. Parents can show them how to guide the floss in and out between the teeth until they get the knack of it. Flossing before bedtime will help prevent bacteria from forming overnight.
It is not unusual to notice a little bleeding of the gums when your child first begins to floss. This happens when there is a buildup of plaque or tartar on the gumline. It’s actually pretty normal at first! In fact, most people develop mild gingivitis at one point in their life. Once all the plaque is removed, the gums should stop swelling and bleeding. If they do, let your dentist know. This may be an indication of more serious periodontal disease.
At Epic Dentistry for Kids, located in Aurora, CO, the focus is on early prevention. To this end, the office has been decorated with the patients in mind. Every effort has been made to create a friendly atmosphere that children will want to visit.