As kids’ teeth come in at different ages, it may be difficult to figure out when to start brushing their teeth. Is it worth brushing two baby teeth? Just as many personal hygiene routines change as kids get older, so should their oral health routines. Baby teeth may be small and impermanent, but they act as placeholders for adult teeth. They also play an important role in chewing and talking. Kids, just like adults, can develop tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems if they don’t regularly brush their teeth. Good brushing habits when kids are younger will also carry over as they become teenagers. Here are some healthy brushing routines for kids of all ages:
In the infant stage, a toothbrush isn’t necessary for oral health. Instead, parents should use a moist washcloth or piece of gauze to wipe down the gums twice a day, particularly after feedings and before bedtime. This gets rid of bacteria sticking to the gums, which could damage baby teeth as they start to come in. Even if there aren’t any issues with your child’s teeth, your child should have their first dentist visit by age one.
Dental care starts the moment the first tooth breaks through the gum line. Around age two, parents should be brushing their kids’ teeth and teaching them to spit out the toothpaste. Around age three, increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste to pea-size, as it’s likely more teeth are coming in. Around this time, you can also start teaching your child to brush their own teeth. They will probably still need a lot of supervision to make sure they aren’t brushing too hard or swallowing toothpaste, but make sure they watch you brush their teeth in the mirror so they can learn proper brushing technique.
5-6 Years Old
By this age, kids should have learned how to brush their well, without swallowing toothpaste and without leaving any teeth unbrushed. If teeth are touching, your child should be flossing as well. Check with your dentist if they recommend using fluoride rinse to protect the enamel surface of the teeth.
10-12 Years Old
Around these ages is when your child’s final baby teeth will fall out. And it’s also when decay can start: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 of 5 children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Your child should be going to the dentist at least twice a year. Parents may inquire about sealants, a thin, protective coating that sticks to the chewing surface of the back teeth. Sealants keep food particles off the tooth surface and stops bacteria and acid from settling on the teeth.
This is also the time period when cavities can start to become an issue as all the permanent teeth are in. According to the CDC, 13 percent of teenagers aged 12 to 19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth. Parents should also talk to their child’s dentist about whether or not their child will need any kind of orthodontic work for permanent teeth that are not straight or interfering with speech or chewing.
If you’re located in the Pensacola area and would like to schedule a dental appointment for your child, give us a call today! – (850) 542-4428