The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has found that children miss more than 51 million school hours each year due to dental related problems. To reduce the number of school hours being missed, make sure your child is brushing and flossing their teeth properly.
Brushing and flossing your teeth helps reduce your risk of gingivitis, periodontal disease, and dental decay. Individuals brushing only once a day are 33% more likely to develop tooth decay. It is recommended that individuals brush their teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. Sometimes children may get lazy towards the end of brushing, if so encourage your child to start on a different section every day.
Choosing Your Toothbrush
When picking the toothbrush, you want to make sure it has soft bristles. Some may think a harder bristle brush would be ideal and perform better, but it actually can harm your teeth and gums. Make sure you and your child brush your teeth softly, hard brushing can damage teeth and gums. It’s best to use small softer movements when brushing your teeth, remember it’s brushing not scrubbing. You and your child should change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Make sure you and your child’s toothbrushes are kept clean. If kept in the bathroom make sure that they are covered and far from the toilet. The cover should have holes in it to let air pass through so that mold does not develop.
Choosing Your Toothpaste
Choosing the right toothpaste to use is important. Advanced Children’s Dentistry recommends using an American Dental Association (ADA) approved fluoride toothpaste for the best protection. Whitening toothpaste is not recommended for a young child. You can always ask your pediatric dentist if you are unsure if your child isn’t getting enough fluoride to their teeth. The reason why the ADA recommends brushing for two minutes is because the tooth enamel needs that amount of time to uptake the fluoride for optimum protection. For children under 3 years old, it is recommended to use a small smear and ages 3-6 years old to use a small pea sized glob of toothpaste.
When to Brush Your Teeth
The best time to brush your teeth is to wait at least 30 minutes after drinking a sugary drink or juice (anything besides water really) or eating food. You want to make sure your saliva does its job before brushing away. Your saliva naturally cleans food out of your teeth, neutralizes acid, fights germs and bad breath. Brushing your teeth right away after an acidic beverage or food can damage your enamel. Your saliva really needs that time to reform and neutralize it before you brush away.
Remember, it’s important to brush your teeth, but flossing your teeth at least once a day is just as important. Flossing can reach places in between the teeth that the toothbrush can’t. Tartar and plaque can build up and erode your teeth. It’s just as important to watch your child floss and brush their teeth. You want to make sure not only that they are brushing, but that they are brushing properly. To help encourage your child brush for two minutes you can have them watch a T.V. show or clip while brushing to pass the time. There are toothbrushes that play a song for the 2 minutes so that they know to keep brushing until the song is over. Brushing and flossing your teeth is extremely important, but make sure you see your dentist every 6 months. Your child should start visiting the dentist once their first tooth emerges.
Call Advanced Children’s Dentistry at 516-825-1100 to reserve your child’s dental care appointment.
200 Garden City Plaza, suite 101, Garden City, NY 11530 (Across from Roosevelt field mall)