An early start to a pearly smile through life…
At Epsom Dentists, we believe the effort you put into your child’s bedtime teeth cleaning routine now, will set them up for life. The trick is to make teeth cleaning part of their daily life and get them into the habit early. As explained below there are some simple rules that you need to know to ensure the job gets done properly.
NOTE: Your child may insist they can do it themselves, but they will not have the necessary skills to efficiently do the whole job until they are six years old. You will need to take an active role and ensure that their little teeth are well cared for.
Your child’s first brushing experience will mostly likely to be chewing or sucking the toothbrush so avoid buying expensive toothbrushes at this stage. It is important to keep an eye on the condition of your child’s toothbrush. Replace it when bristles flared, rinse with water after using, shake and keep dry. Flared bristles can damage gums and damp toothbrushes not rinsed well will introduce bacteria into your child’s mouth.
The first step for your child’s brushing technique is to brush gently along the top of the teeth in a back and forward motion (like a train along a track). Don’t apply too much pressure and talk soothingly as you carry out the routine.
You need to follow then up, ask for a “cheesy smile” and using a gentle circular motion clean the outside of the teeth (as best as you can) because they are likely to keep closing their mouths. This is an action they will eventually be able to do for themselves. The hardest and often most forgotten part of teeth cleaning are the teeth on the inside. This area needs a gentle up and down action at an angle like a zigzag.
Avoid running the brush in a straight line along the gums.
You can use a story about Bertie the germ who likes to live in the mouths of children who don’t clean their teeth. Make a show of brushing him away.
An enticement for teeth brushing time is to buy character toothbrushes or a brush with a flashing light for 60 seconds. Epsom Dentists prefer a two minute routine for children of school age but 60 seconds is pretty good going for a preschooler.
Baby teeth may be small but are important placeholders for adult teeth.
Without a healthy set of baby teeth, your child will have trouble chewing and speaking clearly.
Epsom Dentists realise you may not feel like being an “at home” dental hygienist after a long day at work and dealing with tired children, so please feel free to contact us with any queries regarding your children’s teeth.
Whatever you do, your efforts will be a real gift to your children’s oral health, and you will be rewarded by their pearly smiles into adulthood.