The Importance of Brushing and Flossing
As a parent, the health of your child is one of your top priorities. In addition to making sure they maintain a healthy body and mind, it is also important that they maintain a healthy mouth. To do this, brushing and flossing daily is essential. Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry is here to help.
Why are Brushing and Flossing So Important?
Throughout the day, plaque and bacteria build up on the surfaces of the teeth. These substances may be natural, but they can be very harmful. They produce acids that can erode the enamel of the teeth, leading to tooth decay and cavities. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children brush twice a day and floss once daily, just like adults. These habits help to eliminate buildup from the surfaces of their teeth, reducing their risk for cavities and other serious oral health issues.
What if My Child Still Has Their Baby Teeth?
Even if your child still has their baby teeth, brushing and flossing are essential habits. The baby teeth may only be temporary, but cavities in these teeth can cause serious complications. Cavities can lead to infections in the baby teeth. An infection does not only affect the baby tooth, but it can also affect the adult tooth developing below the gum line. Brushing and flossing the baby teeth helps to keep these teeth healthy and helps to ensure the health of the developing adult teeth.
Brushing should be done at least twice a day for two full minutes. You should begin brushing as soon as the baby teeth begin to erupt. Very young children will need you to brush their teeth for them. As they get older, you can work with them to learn how to brush on their own. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for children. For children under three, use a rice-sized amount of toothpaste. Children over 3 can use a pea-sized amount. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums. Brush gently back and forth to clean all surfaces of the teeth, including the fronts, backs, and the chewing surfaces. When the bristles on their toothbrush begin to fray, it is time to get a new one.
Flossing should begin as soon as the teeth begin to touch one another, which typically occurs between the ages of 2 and 6. For young children, you will need to floss for them to avoid them hurting their gums. Flossing should be done at least once a day. Teach them to gently move the floss back and forth between their teeth and scrape up and down the sides of each tooth. You should also teach them to shift the floss so that they use a new section for each space. If your child has trouble, you can also provide them with floss picks for children, which can help to make flossing easier.
Brushing and flossing are just as important for children as they are for adults. It is also important that your child has regular dental cleanings and exams every 6 months in addition to their daily brushing and flossing habits. If you have any questions or concerns, call Puget Sound Pediatric Dentistry at 360-659-8100, 360-863-8700, 425-367-4149, 360-339-8000 today.