Good oral hygiene is essential to maintaining the health of your child’s teeth. Children should brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day. If your child is too young to spit, we (and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry) recommend using a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste. If flossing is difficult to fit in at brushing times, it is fine to floss at a different time. We have patients who floss in the car, while watching TV – if it’s OK with you, we encourage fitting it into a time that works for your child.
Taking care of your child’s teeth at home is a team effort. Children should have parental assistance in brushing and flossing. We understand brushing a toddler’s teeth may be a struggle, but it is one worth having. Around the age of 6, children will want to start brushing and flossing on their own. While we encourage independence, we still recommend assistance or “checking in” at least a few times a week until age 10 (for brushing) and 12 (for flossing). If you are having difficulty at home, please ask us for suggestions. We are moms as well and have likely experienced the same situation.
Children wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances need to take special care when it comes to oral hygiene. Extra time will be required to brush plaque and food debris out of the nooks and crannies of brackets and wires. Flossing using floss threaders and other specialized flossing products will be needed to prevent decay between the teeth and gingivitis. We may also recommend a prescription-strength toothpaste for patients in braces to prevent decay and white spots that are more likely to occur during orthodontic care.