Teaching your child proper oral care is an investment in overall health that will pay lifelong dividends – so start early! First, set an example by making sure you are taking good care of your own teeth! Make it a family affair. Next, add things that make taking care of teeth fun – like fun toothbrushes, music, or fun flavors of toothpaste – and you’ve got the start of oral hygiene success.
Good Brushing Habits
Use a pea-sized amount of ADA-accepted toothpaste and a soft child-sized toothbrush. Brush the inside surface of each tooth first, where plaque may accumulate most. Brush gently using a back and forth motion. Move on to the outside surface of each tooth and finishing with the chewing surface. It’s also fun to brush the tongue! Start flossing when two of their teeth touch each other and have them take over around age 7 or 8. Brush and floss just before bedtime. After that, don’t give any more food or drink (besides water) until the next morning.
Get a Check-Up
Your child should see a dentist by their first birthday. Although the first visit is mainly for the dentist to examine your child’s mouth and to check growth and development, it’s also about your child being comfortable. To make the visit more positive, consider making a morning appointment when children tend to well-rested and more cooperative. Keep calm and don’t let your own anxiety come into play, as children may pick up on your emotions. Never use the dental appointments as a threat. Talk with your child before the visit and tell them what they will experience.
Stand firm on brushing, flossing, and rinsing at home. Remember to be patient, many kids aren’t ready to go it alone with oral care until closer to age 6 and it might take children until age 10 to perfect their flossing skills. If your child becomes agitated at bedtime, start right after dinner instead. Let your child pick out their own toothbrush and flavor of toothpaste. Motivate them with stickers, a chart, or by letting them pick a small toy from a basket after a good session. Use apps or music to help them focus and keep brushing. You can also try brushing with them – make it a group activity and show your child that brushing is a lifelong skill that they will need for the life of their teeth.
Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care and Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care
It can be scary any time your child is sick, but rest assured that AllKids Urgent Care is here to help guide you every step of the way with a caring and knowledgeable pediatric staff. Both our Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care and our Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care are open every day, from noon to 10 PM no appointment is necessary, just stop in and start your child on the road back to health.