A regular dental cleaning helps maintain your child’s oral hygiene, but it shouldn’t be the only step you take. As soon as their first tooth erupts, we recommend developing a routine at home to take care of your child’s teeth until their old enough to do it themselves. Once your child is older, they’ll take these positive habits into adulthood so they can enjoy a healthy, happy smile!
After their first teeth cleaning appointment at any of the Sacramento area Kids Care Dental & Orthodontics offices, our team can provide oral hygiene resources and dental tips to start your child’s routine. From teaching them proper brushing techniques to encouraging healthy foods, there’s a lot of work that goes into healthy teeth. Parents can follow these tips in between kid’s dental cleanings to maintain their beautiful smiles!
Brush Your Teeth Together
We’re big advocates of quality family time, especially if it helps build healthy habits! When first introducing kids to brushing their teeth, we encourage families to do it together. Setting a routine together gives your children something to look forward to everyday, as well as setting an example for using proper techniques.
When taking care of kid’s teeth, there are a few things they can’t do for themselves before they get a little older. For example, kids typically don’t learn how to spit until the age of three. In order to accommodate them, choose a toothpaste that doesn’t have fluoride or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), as these are harmful to ingest. If they are too young to pick up on the mechanics of brushing their own teeth, parents can do it for them. You can tilt their head back slightly which keeps their mouth open and gives you full view of their teeth.
Teach Them Proper Techniques
Once your child is old enough to brush their own teeth, you can start to teach them the correct techniques to clean their teeth effectively. Help your child follow these steps until they are old enough to do it by themselves:
- Start with a rice-sized amount of toothpaste and gradually work your way up to a pea-sized amount once they can thoroughly spit.
- Encourage brushing at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.
- Brush for at least 2 minutes, focusing on the back molars as this is where cavities first appear in most kids. A kitchen timer or an app on your smart phone can help kids keep track of how long they brush.
- Show them how to brush in a circular motion to cover the most area on all of their teeth.
- Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as two begin to touch. When they are old enough to do this alone, angled floss sticks can help them reach tough areas.
A clean toothbrush means a clean mouth, so don’t forget to monitor the wear and tear of each family member’s toothbrush. Your child should rinse the bristles thoroughly after they finish brushing and tap away any excess water. Store it in an upright position and away from other brushes or bathroom objects so it can completely dry between uses. You should plan to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or earlier if it is showing signs of use.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Our teeth come into contact with everything we eat and drink, so it’s important to make healthy choices to protect them from future damage. Sugary or acidic substances are the most harmful to our teeth and should be avoided as much as possible. When kids do consume these foods, it’s important to brush and floss your teeth immediately afterwards. However, kids will be kids, which means they will likely seek out sugary options. Practicing proper oral hygiene can help prevent cavities and tooth decay overall.
See a Dentist Regularly
Don’t forget to check-in frequently with your pediatric dentist. While your child’s teeth are developing, semi-annual exams are encouraged to keep a close eye on how their teeth are growing. This can help determine if there need to be any changes made to the at-home routine or underlying issues that need to be addressed early on.
Kids Care Dental & Orthodontics has locations throughout the Sacramento area to provide parents with easy-access to pediatric dental care. Routine dental cleanings are an important part of building positive, healthy habits. Let us help your family get started. Schedule a kid’s teeth cleaning appointment today!