Today we are going to talk about some very important recommendations and guidelines for children and caretakers as it relates to their oral health. Some of the things that you will well know already are the impacts that your dietary choices will have on your child’s health as well as how to maintain their hygiene through actions such as brushing, flossing and other things of that nature. We’ll go over these in-depth as far as how each of these recommendations might relate to people within their own ages and some other conditions that might be going out such as if they have braces.
It’s very important for individuals to brush once their teeth start to erupt. The eruption is when the tooth begins to grow out of the gums and you can see it. For babies, this typically happens around six months of age and they will have all 20 of their baby teeth usually by the age of 2.5-3.
I’ll demonstrate one of the ways to actually apply the toothpaste to the toothbrush. You can start by wetting the toothbrush. It might get remaining on the toothbrush. Afterward place just a smear on the top of it.
Some of the instructions that we want to be able to go over as far as brushing techniques – brush at a 45-degree angle towards the tooth. Another way to say this is that brushing both the tooth surface and all of those surfaces – the front, top and back as well as the gum line. The gum line is where a lot of the plaque is held. It’s important to be able to pay extra close attention to each one of these places. Typically, people will brush their teeth for around two minutes. Another way to pass the time is using Electric Toothbrush.
The very important thing as it relates to brushing is what kind of toothpaste to use. Toothpaste is the material that you put on top of the toothbrush in order to help create that cleaning action for the teeth. We recommend for children in their early ages until three to only use a smear of toothpaste on top of their brush. A smear is just a thin layer that goes on top of the toothbrush and is able to cover just a very little part of it. As they grow older typically the amount of toothpaste grows up to the size of a frozen pea. You do not need very much toothpaste while practicing your brushing techniques.
It is also important that when you are through brushing your teeth that you can spit out into the sink but not rinse with water afterward as there is a very important mineral and vitamin inside of toothpaste called Fluoride. Those people that grow up in an area that has fluoride in the water will not need to worry about having to add any extra fluoride to their toothpaste or to their diet. It is important to talk with your primary care provider or your dentist or other oral health professionals such as a hygienist who cleans your teeth to be able to talk about how much fluoride each of your children should be ingesting for their health. There are many studies that show the safety of using fluoride in all of our toothpaste and other products and we typically will only have the right amount in those actual water supplies.
Flossing is the action of using dental tape to be able to remove any of the debris called plaque that is stuck in between the teeth. It’s very important for the gums and the teeth that floss is used correctly.
One of the first things to discuss is how much floss to use. Typically I use one arm’s length. Depending on how much floss you have available to you, you could use a little bit more if you are comfortable. One thing that I do when starting to floss is to wrap it around my ring fingers on both hands so that I have the ability to hold on to it with just my forefinger and thumb. This allows me to be able to hold on to the floss comfortably without cutting off the blood supply to my fingers. We do not want to do that.
The first thing we’re going to do is to push the floss in between the teeth. You will usually hear a snap, which is good because that means the teeth are touching each other. As the floss goes down towards the gum line you will then be able to feel it go into the actual gums. We will then be making a c-shape with the floss. This is good because it hugs the tooth and allows as much of the floss to touch the tooth surface as possible. Go back and forth and up and down to both sides of the teeth, the ones that are in front of the floss and the ones behind it. As we move in between we can then use a different section of the floss to do the next teeth.
Flossing is recommended for those individuals that have teeth touching each other. Oftentimes when a child is under the age of 3 when they have all 20 of their new teeth just coming in, many of these teeth are not touching each other. While it’s important to be taking care of these teeth, flossing may not be necessary until there is actual contact between the teeth. That being said even when there is contact between the teeth, flossing can be quite difficult. It involves quite a bit of technique, which is why it’s important for you to have the ability to talk to a dental professional such as a dentist an assistant, or even a hygienist to be able to ask any questions that you might have about flossing.