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Healthy Brushing Habits For Young Kids At Various Stages Of Development

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Parents want only the best for their children, and that includes desiring optimal dental health for them. However, good dental health rarely happens by accident.

Instilling proper brushing habits in a child at an early age can help ensure that he or she maintains a healthy oral health regimen throughout his or her life. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that each stage of a child's life requires a specific set of brushing techniques. Of course, every child is still an individual and could have special dental needs. Yet, general dental care can be characterized by age. Here are some of the habits that your youngster should observe at various stages:

The First Year

From the moment that bundle of joy arrives in the world, parents are concerned about their well-being. As soon as the first baby teeth start to present, parents should begin brushing their child's teeth.

A soft toothbrush moistened with water should be enough to gently scrub away debris and bacteria. However, you may also use a special finger toothbrush or eleven a damp wash cloth to clean the baby's teeth.

Fluoride toothpaste should be avoided because of the risk of poisoning if the child accidentally ingests it. Parents can also forgo floss and mouthwash at this stage.

Toddlers and Small Kids

Once a child is able to grip objects and speak, he or she should be encouraged to start brushing his or her own teeth. The little one can now use toothpaste. However, he or she should not progress to fluoride paste until the child is no longer apt to swallow the toothpaste during brushing sessions.

Still, the eventual progression to fluoride toothpaste is important. Fluoride helps harden tooth enamel to discourage the development of cavities.

Parents should also monitor their child as he or she brushes to help ensure that the little one does not neglect any of his or her teeth. Parents should also monitor the amount of toothpaste used. Only a pea-sized amount is required.  

Helpful Teaching Tips

In addition, while teaching children how to brush their teeth, parents can mimic the proper movements and motions, such as those listed below:

  • A circular motion will help kids reach the entire surface of a tooth.
  • Children should also scrub their tongues.
  • The gums are sensitive, but can be gently brushed as well to clear away bacteria and plaque.
  • Gentleness should be emphasized. Scrubbing too hard can wear away the enamel or cause bleeding and irritation of the gums.

To learn more ways to care for your child's teeth, speak with a pediatric dentist in your area.