How to choose the right toothbrushing kit for your child ?March 10, 2020 6:48 am
We all want the best for our kids, and that includes setting them up for a lifetime of great dental health. Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases, though it’s easily preventable with the right routine. It’s never too early to set up the right hygiene habits – and tooth brushing is right at the top of the list. But, how to choose the right brushes and pastes? With so many on the market, it’s hard to know what’s right. Here we tell you just the kind of toothbrush and toothpaste that’s best for different ages.
- The hallmarks of a good toothpaste
Choose one that’s designed especially for children – adult toothpastes can be overly- abrasive and may contain too much fluoride. Fluoride is a tricky subject – it’s important because it helps protect teeth from acid damage, and it’s vital for under-sixes when adult teeth are being formed. It is particularly relevant in Dubai where drinking water won’t have it added, as in other countries. However, too much fluoride early on will actually damage teeth, leaving marks on them when they emerge through. Your pediatric dentist may recommend a fluoride mouth rinse, but don’t buy one without their advice. If you’re in doubt about your toothpaste choice, opt for one that’s ADA-approved (American Dental Association), or approved by the Oral Health Foundation. Fun flavors may help with children that are reluctant to brush!
- What to look for in a toothbrush
Make sure the toothbrush has soft bristles. A special child-sized brush is best, and choose the right age range for your child. As a check, the bristle head shouldn’t brush more than two teeth at a time, to make sure each is being cleaned thoroughly. It should also fit easily in the mouth, and have a round head so gums don’t become irritated by any clumsy brushing. A large handle is useful for toddlers while they’re getting that hand-eye co- ordination perfected. An electric toothbrush can be a fun way to keep older children brushing, but don’t give one to very young kids who won’t be able to do a very good job with it yet! Lots of child-sized toothbrushes have cartoon characters which can help the daily brushing task stay fun and interesting.
- When to brush
Start brushing as soon as teeth emerge, usually around one year old. You can even start a dental routine before then, by wiping baby’s gums with a piece of clean damp gauze. This can make good habits easier to adopt later! It’s usually a difficult and thankless task when starting to brush children’s teeth – but don’t be put off. Even going through the motions of brushing is a good start. Supervise toothbrushing until they’re six or seven years old. A toothbrush should be changed every three months, or if it starts to look frayed around the edges.
- How to brush
Make sure kids brush one tooth at a time, from front to back. They should spit and not swallow toothpaste. It’s also important to use the right amount. The American Dental Association recommends that under-threes should only have a smear of toothpaste – the size of a grain of rice. Between 3-5 years, a pea-sized amount is right. After that, children can use a similar amount to that of an adult. All children should brush twice a day – after breakfast and before bed are the best times. Flossing is also a good habit to encourage, ideally once every day. Mouthwash is a ‘bonus feature,’ so while it’s a good extra, it’s not compulsory for children – unless your dentist has prescribed a special fluoride mouthwash for your child. Don’t let very young children use mouthwash, as they are highly likely to swallow it! Lastly, make sure you see a pediatric dentist with your child, such as at Drs. Nicolas & Asp, every six months. The pediatric dentist will make sure everything is in order for your child’s dental development.
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