Many of my patients are parents or grandparents and often ask about providing the best care for their little one’s oral health. In honor of February being Children’s Dental Health Month, I’ll share the answers to some common questions.
How Much Toothpaste Should I use?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child under three should use about the size of a grain of rice. Between three and six years old, toothpaste can be increased to
a pea-sized amount.
It’s important to keep your eye on the child when he or she is brushing. Be sure they’re not missing any areas of their mouth or swallowing toothpaste!
Should I Allow Fluoride?
At the age of six months, fluoride varnish is recommended. This is one of many reasons why you shouldn’t delay your child’s first visit to the dentist. It’s very safe to apply and does not
hurt. Normally it’s covered by insurance as a preventive service at this age, so often, there is no cost to the parent.
How Often Should A Child Brush?
The best times to brush are right after breakfast and before bedtime, each time for two minutes. Remember, a toothbrush should be the last thing that touches a child’s teeth every night.
Younger kids may lack the dexterity to brush properly. To show them the right way, you can start by brushing their teeth first, then letting them try right after you. If your child doesn’t
like “regular” brushing, try an electric toothbrush. They are relatively inexpensive to purchase at the drugstore and come in fun colors and themes.
When Should A Child Start Flossing?
Children need to begin flossing when they have two teeth touching each other. For most kids, it’s around the age of two or three. Flossing should be done once a day, preferably with evening
brushing. Until the age of 10, parents should assist children with flossing. Let them also see you floss to show it’s important and to start good habits early.
If you have further questions, please call our office at 828-631-3283 or contact us online.
David S. McGuire, DDS