Posts for tag: teeth
It can be challenging to get your child interested in brushing and flossing at home. However, it is recommended to help your child brush and floss their teeth until around the age of 8. Children under eight typically lack the ability and understanding of proper brushing. Also, the first permanent molars erupt around six years old and may be particularly susceptible to cavities if they are not properly cleaned. Listed below are some helpful aids to get kids interested in brushing and flossing.
Using a timer helps to make sure the brushing is the full 2-minute length. You can either use a sand glass timer or a song with a 2-minute length. This way, the timer or the song will tell the child when they are finished brushing. It can also be useful when helping your child brush their teeth to show you when the 2 minutes is up. A timer or a song is a great aid when your child begins brushing their teeth on their own.
Toothbrush/ Floss Wands with Fun Characters
It can be helpful when a child sees their favourite characters on their toothbrush and floss. Brands offer a wide range of products with various characters, in a variety of colours. It may be a good idea to let your child come to the store with you to pick out their toothbrush and floss wands.
Tooth brushing will go smoother when your child likes the flavour of the toothpaste they are using. It may be beneficial to try a few different brands or flavours to find the one that your child likes best. You can try purchasing several sample-sized tubes of toothpaste. This may make it easier during brushing time to do a thorough job. Make sure the toothpaste is non-fluoridated before three years old. Always use just a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste after three years old.
Dental Decay / Cavities
Cavities occur when sugars are consumed, turn into acid in the mouth, and attack the teeth. Cavities are not formed with just one exposure to sugar but can develop from constant sugary attacks over time. That’s why a high sugar diet increases the risk of cavities. Cavities can occur anywhere on a tooth but are common on the biting surfaces of molars and in-between molars. Cavities start in the enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) travel through the dentin (the middle layer of the tooth) and can eventually enter the pulp (the nerve of the tooth.) Once a cavity travels into the nerve of a tooth, an infection will occur, and the tooth will require a root canal. It is beneficial to catch cavities at their smallest stages, to prevent loss of tooth structure. To prevent cavities, consider a low sugar diet, brush and floss, use fluoride toothpaste, and have your check-ups and cleanings regularly.
Gum recession is when the gum tissue around a tooth recedes away, exposing the underlying tooth and root structure. Gum recession can occur anywhere around a tooth. Gum recession is caused by a variety of reasons, including brushing too aggressively, clenching/grinding and trauma. To prevent gum recession, try using an electric toothbrush with a pressure indicator or a super soft toothbrush and wear a nightguard if you clench or grind your teeth.
Erosion is wear of the outer structure of the teeth called the enamel, caused by acids in your mouth. The acids can be from highly acidic foods such as citrus fruit, or acid reflux/ GERD. When the teeth are frequently exposed to acids, the enamel will slowly wear away, leaving them sensitive, thin and discoloured. To prevent acid erosion, make sure to rinse your mouth after citrus fruits/vomiting and talk with your doctor about medication if you suffer from acid reflux/GERD.
Tooth wear is any traumatic wear of the enamel surfaces. Causes of tooth wear can be due to a habit of clenching, grinding, or a traumatic bite. Over time, the tooth surfaces may flatten or indent, and loss of enamel will occur. To prevent tooth wear, be sure to wear a night guard if you have a clenching or grinding habit. If the wear is caused from an off bite, braces may be recommended to align the teeth and fix the bite, allowing biting forces to be distributed evenly.
How do I brush my child’s teeth?
Proper oral hygiene should begin as soon as teeth start to erupt, generally around six months. Oral health can start with a wet cloth, wiping the gums and front teeth. Once the molars start to erupt (around age 1) a proper, child-sized toothbrush should be used at least twice a day. The bristles are needed to mechanically disrupt plaque so it cannot harden into calculus or tartar. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using a fluoride-containing toothpaste before all 20 teeth have erupted. For children 0-2 years, a rice-grain-sized amount is sufficient, after age 2, the amount should resemble the size of a pea. Fluoride helps to prevent cavities and remineralizes tooth surfaces.
Is flossing necessary before adult teeth come?
Daily flossing should start once teeth start to contact each other. If teeth are all spaced, the toothbrush should clean in between sufficiently, however, once the contact areas close, only floss can reach in between to disrupt bacteria. Flossing is not just to remove stuck food, it also helps clean between the teeth to prevent cavities and cleans below the gums to prevent gum disease.
My child is very difficult, how am I supposed to brush their teeth?!
The sooner a regular habit of brushing and flossing is established, the more compliant most children are. Brushing can often be a struggle at first as the oral cavity can be a sensitive area, but as with most things, children usually respond well to routines. Some tips for more difficult children
can include: brushing teeth with child’s head in parents’ lap, swaddling busy children in a towel or blanket, having one parent distract with songs, books, shows while the other parent completes the brushing or reward charts for older children.
Can my child brush their own teeth?
Children need to build dexterity and skills over several years before they are capable of doing their own home care. Some basic guidelines to assess your child’s ability to use a toothbrush and floss properly include: being able to tie their own shoes, using a fork and knife to cut their food correctly and being able to write clearly with a pen or pencil. In general, boys take longer to build the proper manual dexterity to brush and floss on their own.
Besides brushing and flossing, how can I help protect their teeth?
Limiting a child’s consumption of processed, high sugar foods is one of the easiest ways to prevent decay. A diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruits and healthy fats will aid in overall health as well as excellent oral health. Children should only drink milk and water, sweetened beverages such as juice and pop can rapidly destroy tooth enamel, resulting in cavities and staining.
Making oral hygiene an important habit, just like any other self-care habit such as eating healthy and exercising can shape a child’s future self into a positive, happy and healthy one. Contact us to schedule an appointment or to get more information.