Practicing good oral hygiene offers a simple way to protect your children from tooth decay and gum disease. With a little instruction and supervision from you, your kids can master these important oral hygiene tasks. In addition to brushing and flossing, checkups with Charlottesville, VA, pediatric dentists, Dr. Aaron Stump, Taylor Smith and Jennifer Dixon of Charlottesville Pediatric Dentistry, will help your children keep their smiles healthy.
You're never too young for good oral hygiene
Start your child's oral hygiene routine before the appearance of the first tooth. Clean your child's gums with a damp washcloth or small piece of gauze. After the first tooth erupts, add a tiny amount of toothpaste, no bigger than a grain of rice, to the washcloth or gauze and clean all sides of the tooth twice a day. As more teeth erupt, you can eventually use a soft, child-sized toothbrush and a pea-sized dab of toothpaste to clean the teeth.
Babies and young children don't usually like the taste of mint-flavored toothpaste. Luckily, manufacturers make fluoridated toothpaste in bubblegum, watermelon, and other kid-approved flavors. Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel, reducing your child's risk of cavities.
Show and tell
Most kids like to imitate the things that their parents do, and brushing teeth is no exception. Let your kids watch you while you brush and floss, and explain that these actions remove plaque. Although your kids can't see plaque, it can hurt their teeth and cause cavities if they don't brush thoroughly.
Show your children how to brush correctly by holding the brush at a 45-degree angle and brushing all sides of the teeth. As your child's motor skills become more developed, they will eventually be able to handle brushing and flossing without assistance. Most children need a little help brushing and flossing until they're about 7. Beyond 7, they may still need supervision to ensure that they're actually brushing and flossing correctly.
Make oral hygiene fun
Is it a struggle to convince your children to brush and floss? Making these chores a little more fun and interesting can help. You can buy toothbrushes that look like cartoon characters, play music, or light up at most stores. Giving your kids colorful stickers for completing oral hygiene tasks may also be helpful.
Good oral hygiene helps your children maintain their healthy smiles. If you're concerned about a dental issue, get in touch with Drs. Stump, Smith and Dixon, your pediatric dentists in Charlottesville, VA. Call (434) 975-7336 to reach Charlottesville Pediatric Dentistry's Hollymead office or (540) 832-6657 for the Spring Creek office.