Now that school has resumed, it’s the ideal moment to teach your children a regular dental care practice that will help them maintain good oral health for the rest of their lives and contribute to their overall well-being.
According to the North Carolina Child Health Assessment and Monitoring Program, children with poor oral health are nearly three times as likely as their peers to miss school due to dental pain and, as a result, perform worse in school. As you can see, instilling good dental hygiene practices in children is critical, but keep in mind that it will take time and effort!
How to Begin a Dental Routine for Back to School
I know how tough it can be to get your children to let you wash their teeth as a mother of two daughters, ages two and four. My two-year-old enjoys brushing her teeth, but my four-year-old despises it, so I understand that one method may not work for every child. Parents should keep in mind, however, that children do not have the manual skill to brush fully until they are around six years old. So, after your youngster brushes, go in and brush for them until that timeframe has passed.
When should you begin cleaning your children’s teeth?
Brushing with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush twice a day around the tooth and gum line should begin after your child’s first tooth erupts. When brushing a tiny child’s teeth, use a rice-sized smear of toothpaste for children ages 0 to 3, and a pea-size amount for children ages three and up, according to the American Dental Association.
You can begin introducing flossing into your child’s routine around the age of two or three.
When are youngsters allowed to brush on their own?
Have your child practise brushing and flossing their teeth as they become older (between three and six years old), but until they’re secure enough to do it correctly on their own, you should continue to do it for them to ensure a full clean.
Brushing time should be supervised once they are competent brushing their teeth (about age six). Make sure they’re flossing properly, using the appropriate amount of toothpaste, and brushing for two minutes. It’s also crucial to emphasise the importance of avoiding swallowing the toothpaste! Finally, go over any areas they might have missed with a brush. It’s especially crucial to help kids with oral hygiene at night because that’s when the majority of cavities form.
When is the ideal time to clean your children’s teeth?
Before Going to Bed
Before reading a tale or going to bed, I always brush my children’s teeth. This way, they know that after they brush, they won’t be able to eat or drink anything else for the rest of the day. Getting into this practice early on signals that it’s time to go to bed, and they can only drink water after that. It’s critical to brush your teeth as thoroughly as possible before bedtime since plaque-causing bacteria in your mouth multiply as you sleep, which is why you could wake up with a “mossy” taste and “morning breath.”
Time in the Morning
In the morning, you should always brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste to remove the bacteria that has accumulated overnight, but there has recently been some dispute about WHEN to clean your teeth in the morning.
Brushing teeth after breakfast was once recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA), but it is now recommended to brush teeth before breakfast or wait 60 minutes after breakfast. This is because foods like orange juice and citrus fruits increase acidity in the mouth, and brushing right thereafter can be erosive or even harmful to the enamel. According to Mayo Clinic studies, you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating something highly acidic before cleaning your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth with water after eating these meals, but make sure to spit the water out rather than consume it.
Brushing after breakfast is fine if your child does not take acidic fruits, but the goal is to establish a practice for your child that they can follow into adulthood. Even for adults, brushing before or waiting those 60 minutes is recommended because most adults drink coffee or tea. As a result, teaching your youngster to brush just after waking up is the greatest tip for long-term consistency.
Another option is to have travel toothbrushes in your glove compartment if you have a hectic morning and your youngster eats breakfast in the car on the way to school. You’ll be able to brush them before they get out of the car, while they’re still in the car seat. While it’s not the same as brushing your children’s teeth at the sink, it can help protect their teeth in a pinch.
What other brushing advice do you have?
If your children refuse to brush their teeth, try a different toothpaste or get them a new toothbrush that they can choose from—whatever you can do to make it entertaining. Remember to change your child’s toothbrush every three months to prevent bacteria from accumulating in the bristles, and send your child to the dentist for cleanings and exams every six months. This is critical for the early detection and prevention of any dental problems.
It’s not simple to establish a dental routine for your child—I know from experience with my two children! However, the daily effort is well worth it. Instilling good oral hygiene practices in children at a young age is critical for their general health and will help them succeed in school and as adults. If you have any questions or need guidance on how to get your child into a good dental routine, please contact your dentist—we’ll be pleased to assist you!