Tips for Brushing and Flossing Your Child’s Teeth

It may not seem like it, but your child’s baby teeth are very important so it is vital to take care of them. For the first few years of their life, prior to the child being able to handle dental hygiene independently, it is up to you, the parent, to ensure that their teeth are properly taken care of. In this post, we will look at tips for brushing and flossing your baby’s teeth.

Why are Baby Teeth Important?

You may be wondering, if baby teeth will eventually fall out regardless, why are baby teeth so important. Baby teeth serve as guides for permanent teeth which come in later. If baby teeth develop cavities and require extraction, it can cause serious problems when the permanent teeth are ready to come in. If baby teeth have been extracted when the permanent teeth come in, the empty space vacated by the baby teeth may be filled by a neighboring permanent tooth which may cause that incoming tooth to come in crooked. The result of this could be expensive orthodontic treatment in the future. Taking good care of baby teeth while they are in will help to avoid this situation.

Tips for Brushing Your Child’s Teeth

For most of the first year of your baby’s life, there will be no teeth to brush so you should gently wipe the gums with a clean washcloth or a gauze. Once the baby’s first tooth appears, you can start using a baby toothbrush to brush the tooth. However, only use water at this point. Make sure the teeth that come in are well brushed and kept clean. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that the best time to clean your baby’s teeth are following breakfast and just before bedtime.

The first birthday for your child is a milestone for several reasons, including their dental health. At this point, your child should have been to their first dental appointment and it also marks the time when the child can start using toothpaste. Continue using the child-sized toothbrush until the baby is at least two years old and use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. It is best not to use toothpaste with fluoride at this point, waiting until the child can safely spit on their own. This will prevent any excess amount of toothpaste from being ingested. The length of time that you will need to brush your child’s teeth varies from child to child but most children are able to brush independently at around six years of age.

To brush your child’s teeth, hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and gently move the toothbrush back and forth. Make sure that you are brushing all surfaces of the tooth, including the outer, inner, and chewing parts of the teeth. To make sure that you are brushing the inner surface of the front teeth properly, tilt the toothbrush up vertically and brush up and down. Also, make sure to brush the tongue to rid it of bacteria.

Tips for Flossing Your Child’s Teeth

Once your child has two teeth that are touching, it is time to start flossing. This usually occurs when your child is around two to two-and-a-half years old. Children are typically prepared to floss independently around the ages of eight to 10 years old, so prior to that period, you will have to do the flossing for them. To do so, cut a piece of floss at about 18 inches long and wrap it tightly around each middle finger. Hold the floss between the thumb and forefinger and gently insert the floss between the teeth. Make sure you floss all the teeth and don’t miss the back teeth.

Once your child is old enough to floss on their own, you will want to help them by offering them every advantage. A great way to make the flossing process easier is to use a floss holder. For older children who are ready to floss on their own, they may want to tie a piece of floss in a loop of about 10 inches which will allow them to hold the floss between their thumb and forefinger. This will also make it easier for them to use the proper flossing technique.

Taking care of your child’s baby teeth is essential to their future dental health. These brushing and flossing tips will ensure that your child has the optimal care and will be well prepared once it is time for them to take on the tasks themselves. Another important task for your child’s oral health is a regular visit to a pediatric dentist. If your child is at that age where they need a regular visit, come to Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida.