Introducing Brushing and Flossing in the Early Years
Teaching your child the importance of routine brushing and flossing can be a simple task, especially if you start early. Many family dentistry experts recommend wiping your baby’s gums with gauze or a soft cloth after feeding to help them become familiar with the sensations of routine dental care. As your child gets older, you can use your finger, wrapped with a soft cloth, to emulate brushing. Your child may begin using a toothbrush around ages two or three or when at least four teeth have come in. Recommendations vary by dental experts, so ask an affordable dentist in Baltimore. As your child grows, help them become more involved in their dental care and make brushing and flossing an enjoyable experience with these tips.
- Allow your child to select his or her first toothbrush, but ensure that it is a small, soft-bristled toothbrush designed for children. If the bristles are still too uncomfortable for your child, soak the toothbrush in warm water to further soften the bristles.
- Most experts in family dentistry recommend the use of plain water for brushing up to the age of two. Talk to your dentist about your child’s specific needs. When choosing toothpaste, read the label—some brands are not recommended for children under the age of six. If you and your dentist determine that the use of toothpaste is suitable, use only a pea-sized amount on your child’s toothbrush.
- Brush your child’s teeth twice a day—in the morning and just before bed. Spend two minutes brushing, concentrating a good portion of this time on the back molars. This is an area where cavities often first develop.
- Toothbrushes should be replaced every three to four months or when signs of wear appear, whichever occurs first. Teach your child not to share his or her toothbrush.
- When your child has two emerged teeth that touch, begin teaching him or her about the basics of flossing. Many parents find floss sticks or picks easier to use at this stage than traditional string floss.
- Ask your dentist about your child’s fluoride needs, especially if your child is not regularly exposed to fluoridated drinking water; supplements or fluoride treatments may be necessary.
- Dental sealants can offer helpful protection for cavity-prone teeth. Ask your dentist if you should consider dental sealants for your child. Dental sealants are plastic barriers that fill in gaps and spaces that may be particularly prone to collecting bacteria and debris.
- Around the age of six or seven, your child should be coordinated enough to handle brushing and flossing on their own. Until this age, it is a good idea to not only assist and monitor your child’s brushing and flossing habits, but also to brush and floss with them. Leading by example is an ideal way to teach your child healthy dental care habits.
Remember, it’s never too early to start teaching your child about proper brushing and flossing. Routine dental care is a habit that can and should last a lifetime for the sake of your child’s health.
To learn about our family dentistry practice in Baltimore, call Dental One Associates at Beltway today at (410) 775-5536 or make an appointment.
Dental One Associates offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Baltimore. With 11 affiliated practices throughout Maryland, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Dental One Associates at Beltway, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Dental One Associates at Beltway.