kids oral hygieneMany parents want to know: At what age should I brush and floss my child’s teeth? A good rule is to start toothbrushing and flossing as soon as the child has teeth that are in contact with each other, usually around age two to three years. Once teeth reach this point, food particles can get caught between them and foster the growth of bacteria and the development of plaque.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents should be brushing a toddler’s teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled brush specially designed for toddlers small mouths and delicate gums.

Oral Care Tips Stage 1 (4-24 months) :

To prevent the formation of plaque, a soft, sticky bacteria containing deposits that accumulate on teeth and cause tooth decay, parents should begin by regularly cleaning their newborn baby’s gums with a damp washcloth after all breast or bottle feeding. When a child’s first tooth appears, parents should brush their child’s teeth for two minutes twice a day and switch to a child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush with a cushioned head, and a pea-sized dab of non-fluoridated toothpaste. Parents should ask their pediatrician about when their child should visit the dentist, but a good rule of thumb is: “First visit by first birthday.” Additional visits should be scheduled every six months to ensure proper tooth development.

Oral Care Tips Stage 2 (2-4 years) :

Children two and older should use fluoridated toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay. Supervise your child while brushing. It is recommended that you spend two minutes brushing teeth, focusing on the teeth that conduct most of the chewing and back teeth. Use a toothbrush, that is designed to appeal to a toddler who is learning to brush and whose baby teeth are growing in. This brush is designed to effectively reach all teeth, with its narrow head, simple bristle pattern. Brush your teeth with your child to set a good example. This will help your child learn by watching and imitating you. For children two and older, parents need to be aware of the impact that nutrition and eating/drinking habits have on oral health as well as overall health. Parents can promote healthy habits by limiting sugary drinks, getting rid of the bottle and/or sippy cup and offering healthier meal and snack options.

Oral Care Tips Stage 3 (5-7 years) :

Children five and older are starting to get their permanent molars, therefore it is important to use a fluoridated toothpaste and toothbrush. Toothbrush featuring cup-shaped bristles that surround each tooth and a tips that easily reaches around and behind back teeth.

Oral Care Tips Stage 4 (8+ years) :

Children eight and older should use a fluoridated toothpaste and toothbrush that is designed for a complex mixture of different-sized permanent and baby teeth. Toothbrush features a combination of criss-cross bristles for cleaning, massaging bristles for sensitive gaps and tips to effectively reach and clean back teeth. Flossing in between teeth is also important. Gum massaging after brushing helps in gum development.