Cleaning your Baby’s Teeth
The best way of cleaning your baby’s teeth when they come through is simply to wipe them with a gauze which can be bought from your local chemist/pharmacy. Up to 6 months it’s generally recommended that no fluoride is used. From 6 months to three years of age, a children’s toothpaste is good to use.
Cleaning your Child’s Teeth (under 6)
You should get your child into good habits early on- that is encourage the brushing of their teeth and gums twice a day. Until they are 6 or 7 (by which time they have developed enough dexterity to maneouvre a toothbrush properly). It is generally agreed that you should thoroughly brush their teeth twice a day using a small headed brush and a pea sized amount of a child’s tooth paste- which has reduced fluoride because children often swallow it.
One suggested way to get in there, is to have your child tilt their head back and upwards – chin towards the sky- so that all tooth surfaces can be seen. The same gently scrubbing motion or little circles and flicking away from the gums should be used.
They should always be encouraged to spit out as much as possible after they have finished brushing, but remember not to rinse their mouth out. This leaves a little toothpaste and most importantly, some fluoride around their teeth to strengthen them.
There are those kids who love the taste and like to eat it- not a good idea, so the amount of toothpaste put on the toothbrush and the toothbrushing itself, should always be supervised by parents.
Adult Brushing (after 6 years)
Of course at this age, we can still suffer from motivation issues… so some level of supervision is advised, (particularly at night when brushing is the most important). Until you are happy they are doing a good job and this is being confirmed by the dentist at the dental check up, maintain an element of supervision.
I generally don’t push children to floss until all the adult teeth are through, as it’s often tricky- many changes are taking place and often there are spaces where teeth have fallen out and you are waiting for new ones to come through. If you can encourage it, then fantastic- maybe just getting used to doing a few front teeth, but be careful that it’s not hurting them, or a bit of a negative association could develop early on which may affect them trying flossing again down the track.
When it comes to toothbrushing, the old moto, “If you are going to do it, then you may as well do it right,” couldn’t be more true.
It’s generally advisable to spit out after brushing and not rinse to get maximum benefit from the fluoride in your toothpaste. If you want really want to rinse to get rid of any bits and pieces, then a very quick re-brush afterwards with a bit of fresh toothpaste will have the same effect. Are you high caries risk? if so this little routine is far more important and beneficial.