Teaching Your Children Proper Dental Care

Teaching your children about good oral hygiene can help them avoid painful cavities and other oral health issues. Twice-yearly checkups at the Shelton, CT, office of your family dentists, Drs. Michael Caserta and Adrian Basu of Dental Associates of Shelton, are another essential aspect of good dental health.

When should oral hygiene start?

Plaque, the sticky, transparent film that causes cavities, can coat your child's gums even before any teeth appear. A new tooth is more likely to develop a cavity if plaque is present as it pushes through the gum. Fortunately, it's easy to remove plaque by gently wiping the gums with a damp washcloth or small piece of gauze.

Once teeth begin to erupt, use the washcloth or a child-size toothbrush to clean the tooth. If your child has only one or two teeth, use a rice-sized dab of toothpaste. As more teeth appear, gradually increase the amount of toothpaste until it's about the size of a pea.

What is the ideal oral hygiene routine for kids?

Just like adults, kids should brush their teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Flossing can begin as soon as children have two teeth next to each other. When your kids can hold a brush, they can start to handle some of the brushing themselves.

Use toothpaste that contains fluoride. The mineral reduces your child's cavity risk by rebuilding weak areas of tooth enamel.

Show your kids how to brush correctly by demonstrating on yourself or on a doll. As you brush, place the bristles against the teeth at a 45-degree angle. Be sure to brush the front and back of teeth and the front part of the tongue to completely remove plaque.

Although young children may be able to hold a brush, they probably won't have the manual dexterity to do a thorough job. Help them by guiding their hands as they brush. By age seven, most kids can handle brushing on their own, although they still may need a little supervision.

Flossing is just as important as brushing, as it removes plaque between teeth. Cleaning these areas shouldn't be painful. Show your children how to gently move the floss back and forth between the teeth.

Dental visits help keep your children's smiles healthy

Regular visits to your Shelton family dentist are an essential part of good oral hygiene. The visits include a checkup by the dentist and a dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar. These appointments help your dentist diagnose and treat cavities and other issues that could affect your child's teeth or his or her growth and development.

Protect your children's smiles with dental checkups. Call your Shelton, CT, family dentists, Drs. Caserta and Basu of Dental Associates of Shelton, at (203) 924-4115 to schedule an appointment.