Brushing is a Fine Art for Parents And Children. As promised, today, Dentistry for Children brings you a few more tips for caring for your child’s baby teeth–and beyond! In our previous blog, we explained the importance of deciduous teeth and how maintaining them helps the permanent teeth come in straight, healthy, and properly positioned.
We have previously mentioned the importance of oral hygiene even when your baby is tiny and toothless. Keeping the milk debris and sugars away from the gums with your finger or a baby wash cloth are parents’ baby-steps to real oral hygiene.
Big Deals And Brushing
“D” We learned last week that D is for Dental Hygiene. D is also for “Deal,” because brushing for Your baby teeth is a big deal!
Real dental hygiene begins at about age 6 months. Actually, from the first tooth, you can begin serious dental hygiene. Clean the tiny teeth with a soft clean wash cloth to remove plaque.
Soon you can utilize a baby tooth-brush and make a game out of the time you spend in dental care. Just sit right on the floor and transform the activity into a relaxed routine. Remember, you are responsible for the actual brushing action and technique.
Did you know that toddlers simply do not have the necessary eye/hand coordination to properly brush their teeth until about age 5 or 6? Co-incidentally, it is also when cavities and dental problems can get completely out of hand. Toddlers also sometimes have difficulty with the process of spitting out the tooth paste. So, be sure they are not swallowing it.
This is a crucial time for parents to actually do the brushing of the precious little teeth. Like we said, this is a big deal! It is during these short years that your child will develop the dental care and oral hygiene, he or she will either enjoy or deplore for the rest of his or her life.
Toddlers can play-pretend about brushing. They can pick out their own toothpaste, their own tooth brush and chew on the brush. However, do not expect the development of real brushing technique too soon. (No pressure here. Just wait until they are 5 or 6 years old.)
It is very sad to see extreme caries (decay) and infection in the mouth of 3 ½ to 4 ½ year old, when proper brushing and diet could have spared the child the experience. At age 6, the hand/eye skills are typically manifested. However, until then, parents need to actually do the motions.
They need to brush the teeth properly. It is not enough to merely allow the child to chew on the brush. We know you understand that is not exactly brushing teeth. Dental Hygiene is a very big deal and this might be a good point for you to review Part 1 of our coverage on the Parents Primer for Deciduous Teeth.
Ever Watchful – Is Brushing Fun?
“E” is for Ever Watchful, which is what you will need to be. Even at ages 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, children can become sloppy about their brushing. Just because your child turns 5 or 6 years old does not mean they will love the idea of brushing their own teeth. Supervision, and sometimes incessant reminders, not to be confused with nagging, are still required.
“Currently, 28 % of children under the age of 5, have cavities, a statistic that has risen over the last decade,” states Martin J. Davis.
Fluoride With Brushing Protects Baby Teeth
“F” is for Fluoride: Discover your fluoride Situation: “Check to see if your tap water is fluorinated.” This affords some protection from tooth decay. If your water is not
fluorinated or if you restrict your family to bottled water, you can obtain fluoride drops. At Dentistry for Children, we always warn parents that too much or too little fluoride little can cause problems.
“So if you use toothpaste that also contains fluoride, be careful to use a very small amount–A little dab will do! At Dentistry for Children, we like to say a pea-sized dab is plenty when you brush your child’s teeth.”
You are the appointed brushing monitor for your child. You must be ever vigilant. Your reward will be the possible saving of your child’s discomfort and your budget. At Dentistry for Children, we think a few moments of supervised dental hygiene far outweigh years of dental cavities and fillings.
Brushing And Decay
“G” is for “Get it Done!” Parents Do The Brushing! When Teddy, in last week’s story was scolded for allowing his few little teeth to decay. He was only 4 and a half years old. This was actually unjust. His eye/hand coordination was not yet developed enough to properly brush his teeth.
At age 6, these skills are manifested. However, until then, parents need to actually do the motions. They need to brush the teeth properly.
Brushing Alone Is Not Enough
“H” is for “Healthy Flossing.” Once you are certain the child has mastered the procedure of brushing, your job is not done. When the permanent teeth appear, soon they
will be spaced tightly against each other, and this signals the introduction of another skill in oral hygiene: Flossing. Like brushing, this is a skill that must be learned.
The recent flurry of attention about flossing has not defeated the effectiveness of flossing. All the press proved was that the issue has not been a priority for research funding.
With this Primer, parents can establish a lifetime of dental health and shining smiles for their child. They will never have the dental problems and pain, of young Teddy–nor his bills. “A prevailing opinion among the public was that a tooth is just a tooth,” said Sally J Cram, a Periodontist in Washington. She explained, “now we are understanding that when you have inflammation in your mouth, the mouth is connected to your whole body and inflammation can spread to the rest of the body.”