Dental Hygiene for Babies and Children

Viviane Kardoush and Kimber Leigh Ram answer your questions on dental hygiene for adults and children. Keep those sparklers healthy!!!

Viviane Kardoush and Kimber Leigh Ram answer your questions on dental hygiene for adults and children. Keep those sparklers healthy!!!

How many teeth will my child get and when will they appear?
Children have 20 primary teeth. The first teeth, usually the lower central teeth erupt first
at about 6-10 months of age.

When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
You should begin to brush your baby’s teeth as soon as they erupt (6-10 months).

How often should I brush my child’s teeth?
You should brush your child’s teeth twice a day, once in the morning and last thing
before bed.

What’s the best brushing technique?
With baby on a change table or other stable surface, apply a grain of rice sized amount
(for children younger then 3) of toothpaste to the toothbrush and aim the toothbrush
at a 45 degree angle into the gums and gently giggle the toothbrush in short back and
forth strokes. This small amount of toothpaste for babies is ok to be swallowed, however
spitting should always be encouraged as soon as baby is capable of doing so.

For children older then 3 a pea sized amount of toothpaste can be used. The adult
should stand or sit behind the child to brush the teeth. Start in the upper right section
and brush all the outer surfaces of teeth, move to the next section of teeth the upper
middle teeth and then onto the upper left section of teeth. Now move to the lower left
area, then onto the lower middle teeth and ending on the lower right teeth. After all of
the outside surfaces have been brushed, move to the inside right section of teeth and
follow the same pattern. Next, brush all of the chewing surfaces starting in the upper
right section of the mouth and following along in the same pattern you did for the inside
and outside surfaces. Brush teeth for a full 2 minutes.

What sort of toothbrush should I use to brush my child’s teeth?
Use a specially designed child’s toothbrush, with soft bristles.

Do I need to wipe my child’s gums even before she has teeth?
Yes. Wrap a damp face towel around your pointer and middle finger and gently massage
the babies gums, and remove bacteria and debris after feedings.

What kind of toothpaste should I use for my child?
Use a children’s toothpaste because these contain a less harsh minty flavour that is well
tolerated by babies. Make sure the toothpaste has fluoride in it.

What is fluoride, is it safe and does my child need it?
Fluoride is a mineral that is commonly added to toothpaste. Fluoride helps strengthen
teeth and prevent cavities so it is good to use a fluoridated toothpaste.

Should I floss my child’s teeth?
As soon as your child’s teeth start contacting each other you should begin flossing.
Children lack the ability to effectively floss their own teeth till about age 10, so continue
to assist them till then.

What’s the easiest way to floss a child’s teeth?
Take about 1 and a half feet of floss and wrap it around you pointer and middle fingers
of one hand. Wind the floss around these two fingers until there is just under a foot
left. Wrap the rest of the floss around the pointer and middle finger of your other hand.
Gently insert the floss in between teeth and curve it in a c shaped motion, hugging one
of the teeth. When the floss hits the gum line, wiggle it back and forth cleaning the
space between your tooth and gum. Wind a new portion of floss to use. Establish a
pattern and you will be less likely to miss a tooth.

Any tips to make brushing a babe or toddler’s teeth easier?
Coming from behind the child makes it easier to help a toddler brush, for wiping a babies
gums, you can lay them down in your lap or a change table.

How can I prevent cavities in my child’s teeth?
Brushing 2x day with a fluoridated toothpaste is a great way to prevent cavities, as well
sealants help prevent cavities from forming. For babies, it is best not to put them to bed
with anything other than water in their bottles. For toddlers, try not to give them too many
fermentable carbohydrates such as sugary snacks, or highly retentive foods such as fruit
leathers. If they do ingest fermentable carbohydrates, try to give them a neutralizing food
right after such as a few almonds or a cube of cheese to bring the ph of the mouth back
up or have them rinse their mouths with water after.

At what age should I take my child to a dentist?
A good rule of thumb to take your child to the dentist is six months after there first tooth
has erupted.

What should I discuss with my child’s dentist on our first visit?
On your first visit to the dentist, you can ask if there is any area’s on the tooth which
appears to be beginning formation of a cavity. You may also ask, as more teeth start to
erupt in the mouth, if there are any orthodontic issues coming up. Habits such as thumb
sucking can also be brought up to the dentist.

What are the most common ailments with kid’s teeth?
The main ailment involving children’s teeth are early childhood cavities and orthodontic
and spacing issues.