Dental Care for Infants & Children
What you need to know about oral care for your child
Brushing your children's teeth can be a challenging task to say the least. Parents try it, get frustrated and give up on it, before children get a change to make it into a good routine. We would like to make it a little bit easier for parents by explaining what to do and provide an understanding why they need to do it for their little ones.
Baby teeth are extremely important, yet because eventually children loose them, many parents don't pay enough attention or care as much about their children's baby teeth. For starters, baby teeth help your child eat, chew and smile. Keeping space for future adult teeth is probably the most important task of baby teeth and their development. When a baby tooth lost early due to decay, or if baby tooth needs a root canal - it will effect future adult teeth placement. Adult teeth may erupt in wrong place, crowd other teeth or make teeth crooked.
Keeping all baby teeth should be every parent goal when it comes to oral health.
Keep an eye on our future post "Why Baby Teeth are important".
Knowing how to properly brush your children's teeth can help create good habits, that will be embraced by your child as their own in the future.
Brushing Infant's Teeth
When it comes to Infants, they can not brush their teeth by themselves, so parents need to play an important part from the beginning, doing it for the little one in the first years.
Later in life, when children start brushing on their own, it is a parent's responsibility to make sure they doing it properly and doing it as often as they should.
Steps for Brushing Infant's Teeth
New parents often ask, when is a good time to start brushing their baby's teeth. Answer is: as soon as possible. Make sure you start brushing your baby's gums before the even teeth erupt. It means you should be cleaning your baby's mouth before they have teeth. Get yourself and your child into a habit of doing it. This is how you do:
1. Make sure your baby lies in comfortable position in front of you or on your lap
2. Align your baby, so you can see in their mouth.
3. You can use either soft baby toothbrush or wrap your finger on damp, washcloth or a piece of gauze. You need to wipe or brush all parts of the new teeth and gums of your child.
4. DO NOT use toothpaste until you child has teeth.
5. The child might cry at first, however they will cry less and less as they get used to the routine. Sing their favourite song for them to distract them, or ask your partner to help with distracting a child. Cleaning your child's mouth can be a task for two at the beginning.
If and when you ready to use a toothbrush with your baby follow this steps:
a) Make sure your toothbrush is at 45 degree angle to the teeth. Start at where the gum and teeth meet
b) Make sure you do it in the GENTLE circles, DO NOT SCRUB. For front teeth - use "toe" (front) part of the brush. Key is to do it gentle, as you can hurt gums by brushing too hard.
Toothbrush for Your Child
When it comes to toothbrushes, there are many choices on the market. For infants and children, best kind of toothbrush to start with is soft rounded bristle toothbrush. Also make sure the size of the toothbrush is right for the size of your child's mouth.
Change toothbrush at least every 3-4 months, as bristles get worn out. Children can be tough on the toothbrushes and worn out toothbrush will not do as good of a job. Worn out toothbrush can also hurt your child's gums, making it harder for them to like it and keep doing it, so change it often.
You can start using electric tooth brush around age 5. Make sure you buy the children's tooth brush, for the age group of your child. Nowadays, toothbrushes for kids look very creative, with cartoon characters and bright colours, make sure you pick up the one your child likes, and get it as a "new toy" for them.
Toothpaste for Kids
Just like toothbrushes, there is an abundance of choices when it comes to toothpaste for kids. If you want to find a toothpaste that contains fluoride, keep an eye for the one with Canadian Dental Association symbols, which will contain fluoride in it.
USE small amount (half a pea size) of toothpaste when brushing your child's teeth and make sure they spit it out, after they done brushing. Using toothpaste is not as critical as a physical process of brushing the teeth, so don't get upset if your child doesn't like the taste of a toothpaste at the beginning, keep calm and brush on without a paste until you find a flavour that your child will agree on.
Brushing Teeth With Children
Children under the age of 3 years old should have their teeth brushed by an adult. This will get children in the habit of brushing and will make sure it is done properly. Usually we recommend that until your child has a manual dexterity to tie their shoe laces, you need to brush their teeth for them. Use very small amount of fluoride toothpaste, the size of the rice grain.
Children from 3 years old to 6 years of age should be supervised by their parents when brushing and flossing. Use children fluoride toothpaste, the size of the green pea. Make brushing and flossing a family routine, brush your teeth together! Put on a Youtube video with a "brushing song", play a game who last brushing for 2 minutes; use 30 seconds per quadrant: upper right, upper left, lower left, lower right: and you completed the circle! Now the whole family will be sugar bugs free
Should My Child Brush Their Teeth Before Bed?
Brushing twice a day is very important not only for you, but also for your child. Brushing before bed gets rid of bad bacteria, that accumulates in child's mouth through the day. What else stays in your child's mouth? Sugar, which is a food for bacteria that causes cavities. Brushing and if your child is old enough, flossing, helps to remove that bacteria. Brushing before bed encourages good oral health habits in children.
Flossing with Children
Flossing is an important part of an oral health. The sooner you introduce it - the better!
Baby flossers is a great starting tool for parents. Children flossers are easier to use, look more appealing to children and will make this task much more relaxing for both parents and children. Once children get comfortable to use them and know what they doing they can graduate to regular floss.
Follow these easy steps
Take a long piece of floss, approximately the lengths of your child's arm
Wrap both sides of the floss on your middle fingers leaving a 2 inch gap and use index fingers to guide it
Slide the floss between the teeth and starting from the base of the tooth form a "half moon or C" shape
Slide the floss up and down at least 2 or 3 times on each side of the tooth. Move to new part of the floss as you move from tooth to tooth
Repeat it for each side of the upper and bottom teeth. Don't forget the back side of the last molars.
Regular Dentist Visits
Preventive oral health is not always the topic of conversation between the parents, but once in the while everyone should be reminded of how important it really is. We get occupied in daily hassles and always have some kind of excuse not to see a dentist regularly, until something hurts. Then you see your favorite dentist and hope to avoid paying a large bill.
That is a wrong approach to dentistry - we will change it now!
Your goal should be to never experience tooth pain and try saving your natural teeth
Secret is to save your money and your teeth! Preventive dentistry is less expensive then restorative or cosmetic dentistry. You don't let your car go without regular oil changes, why should you or your child skip regular dental cleaning? Trust us, you will thank us, your dentist, when you 90 years old and still have a full mouth of teeth to smile with and impress your family and friends!