Although the oral health of children should be monitored and guided, technology has now made it easier than ever to thoroughly educate children and adults to maintain clean, bright smiles. A conscientious oral hygiene routine for a child must start with guidance from adults and parents at home. Children are led by example, therefore observing adults at home who take care of their teeth is very important motivation. If introduced at an early stage, prevention will save kids from the trouble of enduring long and often painful dental procedures.
There are many and safe oral care products available to jump start in a healthy smile routine as early as the baby bottle stage. Incorporating dental care at infant and childhood stages is vital in ensuring healthy teeth into adulthood.
Dental care tips for children: The toothbrush-ABC's
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- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (morning, after breakfast and in the evening before bedtime) The older the child, the longer the cleaning time - up to 3 minutes. Slowly increase. Helpful: an hourglass or stopwatch which shows the time.
- Always brush teeth from "red to white" - from the gums to the teeth.
- Brush at a 45 degree angle. Clean with light circular movements or shaking forward.
- Not too much pressure on the brush - less is more and it protects teeth and gums.I love rechargeable toothbrushes.
- Target the hard to reach areas first. Start at the molars and proceed to brush the inside surfaces. Finally, clean the front teeth.
- Use soft or medium brush firmness to protect young gums.
- Small bristle heads and an ergonomic thicker handle are ideal for children to develop a feel for brushing and allows them to have a better grip.
- Remove remains of toothpaste after brushing with water and shake brush dry. Set upright in a tumbler, with the head upward. Oral bacteria does not like dry and bright areas, so you can protect the brush from rapid bacterial infections.
- Occasionally, stir the toothbrush in mouthwash to refresh.
- Toothbrushes should be replaced at least every 3 months - more frequently for children. When bristles project outwards, it is a sign that the brush should be replaced.
- Brushing teeth should be fun! Do this together, clean, laugh and make silly faces or gargle loudly so you engage the child.
- Never threaten a child with a dentist visit if teeth are not properly cleaned, as this may start a fear of the dentist.
- For added fun, look for a toothpaste for children with low fluoride content, tailored to their body weight. This prevents fluorosis, unsightly white to brownish-white spots on their teeth. (Approximately 15% of children suffer from it). There are many kid-friendly, fun flavors such as fruit-flavored bubble gum that are sweet and not spicy.