At Willow Pass Dental Care Pediatric Department, we specialize in teaching proper oral hygiene. The pediatric dentist in our office always emphasizes the importance of brushing teeth. They believe that extra care must be given to young teeth, and children should be taught early on about how to keep their teeth clean and healthy. As soon as the child is seen to have the appropriate motor skills for brushing his own teeth, teaching him the proper way to do so and allowing him to do it by himself will give him an important lesson in good oral hygiene.
What Type of Toothbrush?
Your child’s dentist in our office has the following advice about choosing an appropriate toothbrush: Choose a toothbrush that is proportional to the size of the child’s mouth, with soft bristles, and one that they can easily hold in their hand. This will give him a firm grip on the toothbrush and allow him to clean his teeth effectively. Soaking the toothbrush in warm water before brushing can help soften the bristles and make it more gentle to use. Some children prefer using an electrical or self spinning toothbrush. As long as the brushing is done effectively, this can be a great option.
How Much Toothpaste?
The pediatric dentist at Willow Pass Dental Care has the following recommendations about the use of toothpaste: Use only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste for children. Fluoride is a mineral that helps protect and strengthen the child’s teeth against cavities. Proper brushing habits, with a small amount of fluoride, will give your child extra protection, especially for young and developing teeth. Be sure that your child does not swallow large amounts of fluoride toothpaste after brushing, by always using small amounts and rinsing out their mouth after brushing.
How to Brush and Floss Your Teeth
The children’s dentist in our office emphasizes that children should brush two times a day, once in the morning and once at night. Before going to sleep, the last thing they should do is brush their teeth. If they have anything to eat or drink, other than water, after they brush, they have to brush again.
Teaching your child to brush their teeth properly is important so that they can develop healthy brushing habits early on. Here are some recommendations for brushing teeth:
- Teach them to use small circular motions when brushing, always making sure that the bristles of the toothbrush are gliding against the gums.
- Brush on the front and back, the top, and all the sides of each tooth;
- Start with the back teeth first and then gradually move to the teeth at the sides and front of the mouth;
- Make sure to brush the areas where the teeth and gums meet;
- Tell the child to take his time while brushing and spend at least two minutes brushing their teeth to make sure they’re cleaned well;
- Gently show them how to brush their tongue and the roof of the mouth;
- After brushing, spit out any toothpaste left in the mouth
- Teach them how to clean their toothbrushes and place it somewhere clean to dry.
At Willow Pass Dental Care Pediatric Department we know how important flossing can be. Brushing teeth alone will not be able to remove all the food debris and bacteria that can be found in between a child’s teeth. In fact, as soon as children are toddlers and their molars begin to contact each other, it is important to start flossing. Flossing is a good supplemental activity to teach a child in order to keep his mouth clean and free from tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. The Pediatric Dentist at Willow Pass Dental Care recommends flossing at least once a day, ideally at bedtime. When the child is ready to floss, choose the method that would be best suited for him.
The Spool Method
- Cut off about 18 to 20 inches of floss;
- Wrap each end of the floss lightly, several times around each of the child’s middle fingers;
- With the thumb and forefinger holding onto the slack with each hand, teach him how to maneuver the floss in between his teeth;
- Form a C on the side of one tooth, and begin flossing using an up and down motion.
The Loop or Circle Method
- Cut off a piece of floss that is about 18 inches long;
- Take both ends of the floss and tie them together to form a circle;
- Show the child how to place all his fingers inside the circle, except for the thumb;
- Tell the child to use his index finger to guide the floss through the lower teeth, and his thumbs to guide it through his upper teeth;
- Form a “C” on the side of each tooth and begin flossing.
These days, the simplest way to get children to floss is by using commercially available floss picks. These have a small amount of floss on a stick and can be easily slipped into the proximal surfaces of each tooth.
Children may be able to floss on their own, however, many lack the proper dexterity to completely clean their teeth. Parental supervision is very important during the years that they are starting to learn how to floss on their own. At Willow Pass Dental Care Pediatric Department, we always recommend that parents help their children brush and floss, particularly in the hard to reach areas of the posterior teeth.
Electric or Manual Toothbrush?
We find that one of the most prominent questions we get asked is what type of toothbrush is best. Parents may be wondering whether a high-tech powered toothbrush may be more effective in cleaning children’s teeth than a manual toothbrush. Dental experts at the Willow Pass Dental Care Pediatric Department suggest that parents take the time to review the advantages of both methods so that they may decide which one their children should use.
Many children think that electric toothbrushes are a lot of fun and this makes them more enthusiastic about brushing their teeth. Because of the powered rotation and stroke action, some kids and parent think that electric toothbrushes are more efficient and clean teeth quicker than the manual version. The current demand for electric toothbrushes has skyrocketed in the last few years because of this. Some dentists believe that the combined rotation and oscillation actions in electric toothbrushes are more effective in removing plaque from the teeth. While research does not show a significant difference in the amount of plaque removed, we recommend this toothbrush if it will get the kids excited about brushing and assure that they will do so twice a day.
Manual toothbrushes, on the other hand, can be just as effective as their high-tech counterparts. Their soft bristles help clean teeth surfaces and effectively remove plaque and even food deposits. Some children may prefer to use manual toothbrushes because the vibration and powered motion of electric brushes may make their gums bleed. Manual toothbrushes on the market today have added technology that makes them more effective. Crisscrossed bristles, rounded tips, ergonomically designed handles, angled brush heads, gum stimulators, tongue cleaning pads these are all advanced features incorporated into the conventional toothbrush to make them more effective in cleaning and maintaining dental health for children and adults alike.
Overall, it doesn’t matter whether your child prefers to use an electric versus a manual toothbrush. What it all comes down to is the proper technique that they use in brushing her teeth, the frequency with which they do it, and how well they can actually clean their teeth each time. The most important take-home messages are that they make sure to brush two times a day, focusing their attention on the fact that the bristles of the toothbrush glide against the gums. They also have to brush their back teeth or their molars just as much as brushing the teeth they can see in the mirror. With the proper brushing technique and regular dental visits, the pediatric experts at Willow Pass Dental Care are confident that they will have a healthy smile.