Dental homecare guidelines for your children
As a Dental Hygienist, I get a lot of questions from parents about how to properly care for their children’s teeth. Here is a simple guide to help you maintain your child’s oral hygiene at home.
Dental homecare guidelines for babies with their first teeth
- It is best to avoid giving milk or juice before bed. We recommend that water is given instead.
- Use a wet washcloth to rub your child’s gums after nursing or bottle feeding. Using a baby size toothbrush with water is a great introduction for them.
- If your baby is using a pacifier, clean it daily to remove any bacteria.
Dental homecare guidelines for toddlers and preschoolers
- Introduce the use of an ultra-soft small head toothbrush to brush their teeth after breakfast and suppertime with a rice grain size amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste.
- For your toddler / preschooler, once they are comfortable spitting out their toothpaste you can introduce a pea sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
- If your child’s teeth are touching each other, the cavity rate increases. It is very important that flossing becomes a bedtime routine. This can be done with hand floss, or flossers.
It is strongly encouraged for parents to help with their child’s brushing and flossing. They are too young to do this on their own. Having your kids start with the brushing first allows them to get used to it, and makes it fun for them, and then afterwards the parents can finish it for them.
What to do with an Independent Child
Children all have different personalities, and there isn’t one specific rule when it comes to dental homecare. These are merely guidelines to coach you along the way. What can you do if your child challenges the idea of brushing and flossing? Have no fear; there are a lot of different dental adjuncts that are available to help your kids out.
1. Rechargeable electric toothbrushes
If used properly, electric toothbrushes are a great tool for kids. They do all the scrubbing action for you! All you have to do is place the toothbrush against the tooth’s surface for a good 3 seconds at different angles and then move on to the next tooth. Most models have a built in timer which are a great option for kids, since they tend to brush too quickly.
I recommend having your Dental Hygienist show your child how to properly use an electric toothbrush. You can either bring your own electric toothbrush to the dental office, or we can show them with one of our demo models.
It is ideal to use hand floss to clean between the teeth but it can be quite challenging to master at a young age or any age for that matter. I have had a few kids demonstrate excellent technique, so I do not shy away from showing patients how to use it.
An alternative to hand floss is flossers. Flossers can best be described as a small plastic handle with a piece of floss attached to either side. With a bit of practice you will find it very easy to access between front and back teeth.
3. Air flossers and waterpiks
These are irrigation devices that can hold water either in a handle or a container. When the syringe tip is placed between the teeth, it can flush out food particles and bacteria that sit along the tooth and gum line surfaces. This is not by all means a tool to replace hand floss, but it is another option to help keep your teeth and gum area as clean as possible.
4. Disclosing products
There of plenty of dental products at the pharmacy that can show you where plaque buildup is left on your teeth. Disclosing products are designed to help educate patients where they are missing with their toothbrush and dental floss.
Disclosing products come in different formats such as:
- Chewable tablets or in liquid form
- Toothpaste that will leave a green color on plaque surfaces
If plaque build-up is not removed properly, cavities and gum disease present themselves. It is advised to have your health care professional review how to use these products before buying them in the store. They do contain food dyes, so special attention needs to be considered if your child has any sensitivities or allergies to them.
Centre Dentaire Pierrefonds is a family dental practice that welcomes children. If you have any questions about the dental homecare guidelines mentioned above, we invite you to contact our family and children’s dentist clinic in the West Island today. It will be our pleasure to answer your questions our services and set up your child’s first dental visit.