Dental hygiene for children : Cleaning - brushing baby teeth
Teeth Eruption

Cleaning - brushing kids teeth

It is essential for the child's health, brushing teeth to become a lifetime habit from very young age.

As parents, until kids can brush on their own, you have to take care of your child's daily oral hygiene and gradually teach them how to brush.

Cleaning the kid's mouth (before baby teeth eruption)

Start cleaning the baby's mouth from the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby's gums with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove the dental plaque formed on the surface of gums. Besides the benefit of having a clean mouth, your baby gets also accustomed to the daily dental hygiene routine by having its mouth cleaned by you and will not object to toothbrushing later on.

Cleaning / Brushing baby teeth

Cleaning the mouth becomes even more important after the first baby tooth erupts. You must start brushing your child's teeth regularly, to remove the dental plaque bacteria which are responsible for tooth decay.

  • When the first baby teeth erupt start cleaning teeth with a soft damp wash cloth, at least twice a day.
  • Follow the tips in the next pages for preventing baby bottle tooth decay.
  • After the first birthday start brushing the toddler's teeth with a small and extra soft toothbrush. Be gentle while brushing, not to injure the baby's gums.
  • Some babies prefer teeth cleaning by using a special type of baby toothbrush that fits over your finger (without a handle).
  • Up to the age of two, brushing is enough for protecting the child's teeth. Use of toothpaste is not needed.
  • Give the right example to the child brushing your teeth together. Start teaching children how to brush their teeth using proper tooth brushing techniques.
  • After the second year start using a small quantity (pea size) of toothpaste for brushing teeth. Choose one of the specifically designed for infants toothpastes, that contain a low concentration of fluoride.
  • Explain to the child that the toothpaste must NOT be swallowed. Swallowing a fluoride toothpaste could cause fluorosis.

Teaching kids to brush teeth

Teaching kids to brush their teeth can prove to be a difficult task for many parents. But if you care about your kid's health, you must do it succesfully.

The key to establishing good brushing habits is starting an oral care program early. Brushing regularly your kid's teeth after its first birthday is essential to help your kid in developing a useful habit that will help maintain good dental hygiene for a lifetime.

At 3 or 4 years of age, your child should be able to start learning how to brush teeth on his or her own with little help and encouragement. You should supervise brushing to ensure proper tooth brushing technique until your child has the manual dexterity to brush effectively.

By 8 years of age, your child will probably no longer need your help. It is important that your child make toothbrushing a habit, as this limits tooth decay and helps prevent cavities.

How to make kids to brush their teeth

If you are having difficulties to get your kids to brush, the first thing to do is to find out if there is some specific reason why kids don't want to brush :

  • It is possible that your child does not like the taste of the toothpaste. Change it.
    Select a toothpaste for children, with pleasant taste.
  • Perhaps the toothbrush is too big or too hard and annoys children while brushing.
    Select a kids toothbrush with small head, soft bristles and anatomic grip.
  • Check if they have injured their gums. Wait for the injury to heal and repeat brushing.
  • Never scare or threaten them that you will take them to the dentist.
  • Give the good example. If you don't brush, don't seem to enjoy brushing, or do it too quickly, your child most likely will do the same. Brush your teeth together with your children for some days. Be careful to use and teach the correct way of brushing teeth.
  • Explain to them that regular brushing will help them keep their bright smile for many years.
  • Leave a reminder note to the bathroom mirror or on the pillow so that the children are reminded of the morning and before sleep brushing. Use a teeth brushing chart for kids.
  • Visit a pediatric dentist. He will help your child to understand the importance of brushing.
  • If your child brushes only for a few seconds, try to use an hourglass timer.
  • After brushing, give your kid to use a disclosing tablet (that colors the dental plaque), so that you can both see how well he did. You could also brush together with your child and have a contest to see whose teeth are cleaner.
  • Make brushing a fun activity. Use a musical toothbrush. When pressed to the teeth, the toothbrush renders a recorded riff that lasts two minutes. And only the brusher can hear the sound.
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