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Easy-to-do tips to keep your kid's teeth healthy, from infant to youth

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From Baptiste Dentistry for Kids in Apopka

It is never too early to start incorporating healthy habits and routines when it comes to taking care of your children's teeth. Now that the summer is almost over and most kids have gone back to school, it is important not to forget the importance of taking care of our children's health, and oral health is no exception.

Here are a few easy-to-do tips for creating healthy dental habits and routines for you and your children:

Infants

  • Children need to be introduced to brushing their teeth even before their first teeth are visible. Using a light cloth wrapped around your finger you can gently wipe the top and bottom of the gums. Doing this in the morning and evening will help establish a good foundation for having them brush their own teeth.

Toddlers

  • Once their teeth start to “erupt” it is a good time to introduce their first toothbrush. Toddler toothbrushes that have soft bristles and easy handles for little hands are a great first toothbrush. Gently guide your child by helping them hold the toothbrush to brush away each tooth, top, and bottom, front, and back. Help your child brush at a 45-degree angle and slowly stroke the toothbrush over the teeth in a circular motion to remove plaque.

Best Type of Toothbrush: Toddler, Youth, Adult

  • There are different styles of toothbrushes available that work best for different ages: toddler, junior and adult toothbrushes. What is key is that they are soft-bristled. Hard-bristled toothbrushes can push up the gums and cause pain. They also wear away the enamel of the tooth making them vulnerable to decay.
  • Both standard or electric toothbrushes are good as long as they are used properly and at least twice a day. It is recommended to brush for two minutes, which seems like a long time but isn’t if kids are properly brushing each tooth front and back. for young children, singing songs or using a kitchen timer is a great way to help teach them to brush their teeth at the recommended time. This can also help make it fun!
  • Make sure you change out your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months and find a clean place to store the toothbrush. Storing upright in a cup in the bathroom cupboard or counter is a good place to help keep the toothbrush clean and dry.

Toothpaste & Flossing

  • The amount of toothpaste is also important to pay attention to. Children under three years of age should be using no more than a smear of toothpaste or the amount of the size of a grain of rice.
  • Children three and over should use no more than a pea-sized amount of paste on the toothbrush.
  • For some kids, the flavor of toothpaste is also important. If the flavor is not agreeable for the child, they will be less likely to want to brush their teeth. Many times, minty flavors are considered “too spicy” for little ones. Strawberry or bubble gum might work best in these cases.
  • Always select toothpaste that contains fluoride, especially if the water in your area does not have fluoride or if the child only drinks bottled water.
  • Flossing is also a habit that is best learned from an early age. This is especially important for children whose teeth do not have a lot of space in between them. Flossing will help remove food from hard-to-reach places, that is missed while brushing.
  • Besides brushing their teeth, it is also a good habit to have kids brush their tongue. Many times when parents express concerns over “bad breath” a likely cause is a lack of brushing the tongue.
  • Rinsing your teeth is also a great way to make sure you remove all the grit and food particles. Rinsing with mouthwash is also a good habit once the child can spit properly. Again, the flavor or the mouth wash might dictate if the child wants to use it on a consistent basis.

Healthy Diet - Healthy Teeth

  • Beside brushing, flossing, and rinsing - a healthy diet is key. Foods that are full of sugar or sticky will increase the chances of developing cavities. But if all you eat is healthy food and do not brush, your chances of having cavities are just as high.
  • For babies and toddlers try to avoid having them fall asleep with a bottle containing milk or juice. Switching to a sippy cup as soon as possible is also highly recommended. And the best drink is always water.

Visiting the Dentist

  • Finally, regular visits to the dentist from an early age will help towards having healthy teeth. The recommendation is to see the dentist twice a year or every 6 months. Waiting until the child is in pain or a cavity is visible makes the treatment more complicated and sometimes more difficult to treat.

Dr. Alma Correia

If you have any questions or concerns about your children’s teeth and oral health please feel free to reach out to our office. You can call us, text us, or reach us through our website. Dr. Alma Corriea is available to answer your questions and help guide you so you can help your children develop good habits and routines for their teeth.

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