Tooth Tips

Getting Children To Brush

“Two” is the magic number when it comes to healthy teeth. Dentists recommend brushing a minimum of twice a day – after breakfast and just before bedtime – for at least two minutes. Since that can be a very long time for children, The Center’s Dr. Amy Kim suggests these fun ways to keep them going:

  • Pick a song that’s about two minutes long and sing it during toothbrush time. Or, play two minutes of a tune from the radio or a child’s favorite CD. Use the first 60 seconds for the top teeth and the other 60 seconds for the bottom teeth.
  • Place a timer in the bathroom, one that indicates minutes and seconds, or even an old-fashioned egg timer that uses sand.
  •  Get a brush that lights up. The Firefly toothbrush, for example, flashes a light for 60 seconds at a time.

Fluoride Helps Teeth Stay Healthy

Pediatric dentists have a good reason for asking about your family’s water supply. They want to determine if your children are getting enough fluoride, which helps develop healthy teeth and prevents early tooth decay, one of the most common childhood diseases.

More than 25 percent of 2- to 5-year-olds are found to have one or more cavities, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fluoride stops the acid produced by bacteria (plaque) from eating away tooth enamel (the hard, shiny substance that protects teeth). It can reverse low levels of tooth decay and keep new cavities from forming.

Generally, most children receive the right amount of fluoride through a combination of fluoridated toothpaste and fluoridated water and children under 6 months don’t need supplements. If you give your child bottled water, check the label to be sure it’s fluoridated. Bring your questions about fluoride to your child’s next dental visit.

Flossing Helps Teeth And Gums

By age 2, daily flossing is preferred. It removes food and plaque from between the teeth. Plaque is the sticky yellow substance that forms on teeth after eating things like bread, raisins, cookies and cake and drinking milk or soda. Bacteria grows on the plaque and forms an acid that leads to tooth decay. It can get past the gums, damage the bone and destroy the root.

To floss your child’s teeth, wrap the floss around your fingers and glide it between the teeth in a C-shaped motion. Be gentle! Forcing the floss between teeth can make the gums bleed, which can scare children into thinking that flossing hurts (it shouldn’t). To prevent bacteria from spreading in the mouth, use a new section of floss each time you move between two teeth.

source: “Tooth Tips.” The Center For Pediatric Dentistry,  Web. Jan. 10th, 2017.

For more articles on dental health, see our main blog page.

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