Oral Care

Brushing

Oral care should begin even before the teeth erupt to ensure a pattern of good dental habits; gently wipe the gums with a soft wet cloth or gauze. Graduate to a soft bristled toothbrush as the teeth begin to erupt. We recommend you brush your child’s teeth twice a day. Your pediatric dentist will make an individual recommendation as to when your child should begin to use fluoridated toothpaste and the appropriate amount to use.

If your child is less than 2 years of age, it might work best to place your child’s head in your lap to clean their teeth. Place older children in a position that allows you to see inside their mouth, and that is safe for your child. Parents are encouraged to let their child “take a turn” with brushing whenever they show an interest; as long as the parent also “gets a turn”. Children do not have the dexterity to brush satisfactorily all by themselves until around age 7 (or when they can perfectly tie their own shoes).

It is important not to share your toothbrush with anyone else and it is recommended to replace your toothbrush when you have had strep throat, recurring sore throat, or when bristles are worn.

Flossing

Flossing can be introduced as the spacing between the teeth close. Many cavities start between your teeth, where the bristles of your tooth brush can’t reach. To keep your child’s gums and teeth healthy, we recommend that a parent floss for their child once a day. Gently guide the floss between the teeth and use an up and down motion along each tooth to remove the plaque and trapped food. There is a potential to cause damage to the gums with improper (sawing-motion) flossing. Therefore, children should not begin to work with floss until around age 7 (or when they can perfectly tie their own shoes). As with learning any new skill, parents are encouraged to stay involved with their child as he/she begins to work with floss. Parents can then begin to monitor their child’s brushing and flossing, as he/she works towards mastering the necessary skills to become responsible and independent with their own oral care.