Helping Your Kids Learn And Love To Brush Their Teeth

ANY PARENT KNOWS that getting your child to do certain things like eat their veggies, clean their room and even brush their teeth can be difficult. But the reality is that tooth decay is the number one disease affecting young children today.

To combat this, kids need to learn and love to brush their teeth early on in their lives. Our goal is to help your children maintain bright, healthy smiles and help them learn early the importance of good oral hygiene.

Let’s Catch Up On Some Of The Basics

Your child’s first dental visit should be when their first tooth appears, or around their first birthday. Once teeth emerge, you can start brushing them. Brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-sized toothbrush and only a smear of toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). When two teeth begin to touch, it is time to start flossing!

From the ages of three to six, you can use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Remind children not to swallow the toothpaste. Continue to help your child brush their teeth until you feel that they can correctly do so on their own.

Our Top Tips On Teaching Your Kids Good Oral Hygiene

It may not be easy, but it will definitely be worth it to teach your kids the value of taking care of their teeth. Here are some things you can do to help them understand just how important a task it is, and even how fun it can be!

Teach Them Why

When kids understand the reason behind something, they are more inclined to do it. You can even make it more interesting by spinning it into a fun story and giving the bacteria in their mouths a name, like the plaque monsters or tooth bugs!

Let Them Participate

Allowing your child to pick out their toothbrush, toothpaste and floss is a great way for them to participate. If you use a timer to help them brush their teeth for the full two minutes, let them press the button. Find ways to get them involved!

Use Positive Reinforcement

Parents know better than anyone what kids will do for prizes. One idea is to use a sticker chart. Every time they brush their teeth well, without complaining, they get to put a sticker on the chart. When the chart is full, they get a prize!

Make It Fun

Whether you turn on their favorite two-minute song or have them brush their stuffed animal’s teeth first, making it fun is key to helping your child love brushing time. There are also many smartphone apps out there dedicated to making oral hygiene more fun!

You can even show them this fun video to help encourage them to brush their teeth!

We Are Proud Partners Of Parents

Although getting your child to love brushing and flossing their teeth is difficult at times, remember that we are your allies in helping ensure their lifelong oral and overall health. If your child is still struggling with brushing and flossing, let us know, we are here to help.

Have any other suggestions that have worked for you and your child? Tell us in the comments below!

Thank you for your trust in our practice.

Top image by Flickr user Abigail Batchelder used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Breastfeeding Affects Your Child’s Oral Health

CHOOSING TO BREASTFEED a child is a personal and special decision for a mother. Not only does nursing provide a valuable bonding experience for mother and baby, it also has many health benefits, such as decreasing the child’s risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and lowering the chances of mom developing breast and ovarian cancer. But what effect can breastfeeding have on baby’s oral health and development?

Breastfeeding Aids in Bite Alignment

You may not have known that the sucking mechanisms are different for bottle-fed and breastfed babies. Breastfeeding stimulates muscle tone in the jaw because it requires the use of the jaw muscles more so than bottle-feeding. A study published in “Pediatrics” also showed that babies who were exclusively breastfed for six months were 72 percent less likely to have crooked teeth.

With that being said, it is important to remember that every child is different.Breastfeeding does not guarantee that a child will not have future orthodontic problems just as bottle-feeding does not always lead to bite misalignment. There are many factors that go into bite alignment such as thumb-sucking, pacifier use and genetics.

Decrease Your Child’s Risk of Tooth Decay

Breastfed babies have a reduced risk of cavities. This is because they aren’t at risk for baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay happens when a child is put to bed with a bottle that contains formula, milk, or fruit juice. Cavities and decay can still occur in breastfed babies, however, if parents aren’t careful.

To prevent decay, whether bottle feeding or breastfeeding, gently wipe your infant’s gums with a wet washcloth or soft towel after feedings. Later, when your child’s teeth finally make an appearance, start brushing them with a small toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice daily. For children under three, use no more than a smear of toothpaste, approximately the size of a grain of rice.

And good news, moms. The eruption of teeth doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding. Every mother and every child is different. Start weaning your child whenever it is right for both of you.

Moms, Don’t Neglect Your Own Oral Health

Mothers with newborns are completely focused on taking care of the new addition to their family. But, moms, don’t let that get in the way of setting enough time aside to focus on your oral hygiene. Cavity prevention is even more crucial for new parents, as bacteria can be transferred from you to your baby.

We Want Healthy Smiles for Mothers and Their Children

Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, or a combination of both, it’s up to parents to start their children off right when it comes to their oral health and development. If you have any questions concerning pediatric oral health care, give us a call. Our job is to keep families smiling!

To our patients and friends, thank you.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What To Know About Infant Dental Care And Teething

DENTAL CARE IS IMPORTANT at all ages, even for babies! Here are some tips on how you can care for your child’s mouth even before their first precious smile.

Good Oral Care Begins Before Teething

Even though your baby’s primary teeth won’t come in until they are around four to seven months old, caring for their gums before teeth come in is important. Even before tooth eruption bacteria can leave behind plaque that can damage teeth as they come in.

To prevent bacteria from adhering to your baby’s gums, gently wipe them down with a soft, moistened washcloth or piece of gauze. Do this at least twice a day, especially after feedings and before bedtime.

Teething Can Be A Difficult Time For Your Baby

When your little one does finally start teething, it’s normal for them to be fussy and irritable. Common symptoms are difficulty sleeping, decrease in appetite and increased drooling. It’s also normal for their temperature to increase slightly when they’re teething, however, high-grade fevers are not normal. If your child seems overly cranky or has a high fever, call your physician.

You Can Keep Your Child Comfortable With These Tips

Your baby may seem inconsolable while teething but here are some things you can do to soothe and ease their pain:

  • Massage their gums. The counter pressure of your finger helps ease teething pain.
  • Use teething rings or toys. Even a simple chilled washcloth will work. Chewing soothes the baby as counter pressure relieves pain. When chilling toys or rings, remember to refrigerate instead of freeze.
  • Relieve pain. Talk to your child’s doctor about pain relief if your little one seems to be having a more difficult time. Appropriate dosage of acetaminophen may be beneficial during especially painful teething episodes. Avoid teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine.

Once Teeth Appear, Take Proper Care Of Them

The American Dental Association recommends taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday. Once teeth appear you can also begin brushing. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, start brushing your child’s teeth twice a day. Since very young children haven’t yet learned to not swallow toothpaste, use only a smear of fluoridated toothpaste or the size of a grain of rice.

We’re Here To Help From The Very Beginning

Good oral care starts from the beginning of your child’s life. We’re here to help you every step of the way! If you have any questions concerning infant oral health care or teething, call or make an appointment with us today. Baby teeth may be small but they’re important!

Thank you to our patients who make our job worthwhile!

Image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.