Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, with more than 16 million children suffering from it each year. Oral disease also leads to just over 51 million school hours lost every school year. You can help prevent your child from getting cavities by getting them toothpaste that works for their smile. Here’s what to look for when buying toothpaste for your children.
The ADA Seal of Approval
Look for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval when buying any dental or oral care products. The seal will be easily viewable on the box. The ADA’s stringent testing procedures help ensure that you’re buying a useful product that actually works.
For more than half a century, the ADA has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities. Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, but make sure that your child spits all of it out and rinses their mouth thoroughly after brushing since ingesting excessive fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis.
Mild abrasives remove debris and residual surface stains from teeth, but they can also remove enamel. Avoid whitening toothpastes for your children that contain abrasives like: calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, and silicates.
Your goal is to get your child to brush twice per day for two minutes each time. A lot of children find that mint or other traditionally flavored toothpastes are too “spicy” for them. You can find flavors that aren’t too harsh on their sensitive palates. Children’s toothpaste often comes in fun flavors like berry and bubblegum, and sometimes features some of their favorite cartoon characters or superheroes on the container.
Begin a Good Cleaning Routine Early
Just because your toddler doesn’t have teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean their mouth! You can clean toddler’s gums with a clean, damp cloth by gently running away residual food. By doing this, you are actually improving the health of the baby teeth that will soon erupt, and familiarizing them with oral care early in their life.
Does Your Child Brush Twice per Day?
To prevent cavities and tooth decay, your child should be brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day. If they are complaining of sensitive or painful teeth, then visit our office for further evaluation. Our team will check their mouth for signs of tooth and provide them with a treatment plan that will get them a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.
It can be difficult for all of us to do something that we’re simply not in the mood for. This is especially true for children, whether it’s bed-time or bath-time. Maintaining good oral hygiene can be a challenge as well, so here are a few tips for motivating your children to keep their teeth healthy:
Let kids pick their own toothbrush.
One of the easiest ways to make brushing fun is to indulge your kids with a themed toothbrush. You can find tooth brushing gear with everything from Sponge Bob to Finding Nemo and even comic book characters and superheroes. Always pick one with soft bristles and with a brush size that is appropriate for their mouth and age. Giving your child an opportunity to choose her own toothbrush empowers her to be an active part of maintaining positive dental habits.
Use a kid-friendly toothpaste.
There are a lot of flavored toothpastes on the market that can help to make tooth brushing less “icky” for kids who don’t like the strong mint or cinnamon flavor of adult toothpastes. This is another opportunity to involve your children by letting them choose their toothpaste flavor. Of course, always make sure that toothpaste is approved by the ADA and carries the ADA seal.
Make oral hygiene a family activity. Toddlers love to imitate their parent’s behavior. The same instinct that leads your children to play dress-up in your closet will make them want to take care of their mouth just like you do. Practicing good oral hygiene together will also give you the chance to notice any issues that your children might have with their brushing technique. It’s important that they don’t brush too hard, and that they don’t miss tricky parts of the mouth like back molars, and under the gums. Remember to help your child brush at least once a day until they develop the fine motor skills to do a good job on their own.
Make it musical!
Music is also a great tool for any repetitive activity. Humming a favorite song together is a good way to ensure that your children are brushing their teeth long enough to thoroughly clean them. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children brush their teeth twice a day, for two minutes per session, which can seem like an eternity for a restless child. Using music makes this time pass quicker and can even serve as a way to measure how long teeth are being brushed. Oral care is a repetitive activity that benefits greatly from a little bit of music.
Ultimately, the goal is to make oral care fun. Just because it is a habit, doesn’t mean it also has to be a chore. We would love to hear your ideas about how you’re making brushing fun in your home!