When a child makes the transition from having their parents help them with brushing their teeth to brushing on their own, the risk of cavities tends to increase. Your family dentist can help you teach your child how to take care of his teeth, reducing the risk of decay.
Helping Your Child Brush His Teeth
When your child is small, you’ll have to help him brush his teeth, since he won’t be able to maneuver a toothbrush on his own. Use a small, soft toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste formulated for children. As your child’s coordination increases, he can gradually take over brushing duties. However, until he gets used to the routine and has practiced his technique, you’ll still have to help so you know his teeth are getting clean.
There are numerous tools available that can help your child learn. Toothbrushes made for little hands are brightly colored and easy to maneuver. You can also get brightly colored floss holders, often made to look like animals or dinosaurs, to use to teach your child to floss. Talk to your dentist for recommendations on products suitable for your child.
Preventing Decay in Small Children
Even before your child’s first tooth arrives, you can start helping them get used to a dental hygiene routine. Start by wiping the gums with soft gauze. When the first tooth arrives, you can wipe it with gauze, as well, gradually switching to a soft child’s toothbrush as more teeth come in. Ask your family dentist about the most appropriate toothpaste and toothbrush to use.
You can also help prevent decay by encouraging good eating and drinking habits in your child. This includes:
- Avoiding sugary sodas
- Avoiding sticky, sweet foods
- Avoiding highly acidic foods, like sour candies
- If your child still uses a bottle, put only water or formula in it—never fruit juice
- Don’t let your child fall asleep with a bottle in his mouth
Establishing good habits early in life will help your child keep his teeth strong and healthy well into adulthood. For more tips, contact our office at Dr. Dan Bush DDS today!