How to manage children’s teeth - Part 2

 

Looking at a sink or mirror after a child has been in the bathroom makes you wonder why they don’t just brush outside.  Kids are often messy and ineffective when they are in charge of their tooth brushing.  Depending on who you ask, kids should have their teeth cleaned by a caregiver or closely monitored while brushing their teeth until about nine years old.  In fact, a 2015 study showed children whose parents helped with tooth brushing had less dental needs compared to children who brushed by themselves for longer durations. Each child will be different, and some may have the knack for cleaning their teeth early and some make take some time to develop their fine motor skills and ability to clean their teeth properly.  Here are some tips to keep in mind when helping to brush your child’s teeth.

 Start early! Once the first tooth erupts, it is susceptible to decay.  There are small, extremely soft toothbrushes for toddlers. Some dentists recommend using a gentle toothbrush as soon as the front teeth erupt.

 Let kids try to manage their teeth.  Depending on the child, you can either do all the toothbrushing or let them start and you either confirm they did a good job or help them brush the hard to reach spots like the back teeth and the tongue.  Children miss places like this easily and removing as much of the sticky bacteria as possible is the name of the game, but we still want them to feel in control so they can learn how to clean their teeth as adults.

By the age of 3-4, baby teeth have all erupted, and around six years old, they begin to get their first adult tooth.  This is huge because those new adult teeth need to last them for many years! Making sure those important new back teeth get maintained well enough will be critical for their future years of chewing food.

This transition of new teeth and wiggly teeth that will eventually fall out means their mouth is sore. We all tend to be “cautious” when we have sore gums. They will shy away from caring for some areas, and leaving those bacteria behind is not a good idea. Soft, gentle brushing will be necessary during these transitional times.  Be sure to help them clean these areas thoroughly, so their new, incoming teeth do not suffer.  They need to last them for many years.

Be sure to make routine brushing fun!  It can feel like a chore at times but putting on their favorite song or downloading a brushing app can help to liven up brushing time.  They will be fast brushers, so making sure they slow down and focus as much as they can, will be helpful. 

Tools like Mouth-Mate are available to help retract your child's check and tongue, so you can see better and even get them involved in the process.  If you need help, there are many tools available to you!

Good luck and stay tuned for more TePe Tips to help start your children with good oral hygiene habits.

 


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