Age Appropriate Home Care:
0–6 months—Wipe gums with a damp warm cloth at the end of each day before teeth appear.
6–28 months—Brush your child’s teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush using a pea-sized portion of non-fluoridated toothpaste, one to two times per day. Proper spitting habits should be encouraged to avoid swallowing paste. Using non-fluoridated toothpaste is important until your child has developed the ability to spit it out properly.
28 months – adult—Help your child use a soft bristled toothbrush with pea-sized portion of fluoridated toothpaste. Brush two times per day.
Flossing should begin when there are at least two neighboring teeth that touch each other. Gently place floss between teeth, being careful not to snap floss into the gums. Wrap the floss in a “C” shape around each tooth and move up and down. Don’t forget the back of the last tooth as well. Many retail stores carry specially designed handles that can help you and your child if flossing becomes a struggle, but they are generally not as good at removing plaque.
Brushing— We recommend a soft bristled tooth brush in an age appropriate size. Brushing should be done in gentle, circular motions. It is important to make sure your child brushes the front, back, and chewing surfaces of each tooth, and that the brush is also touching the gums while brushing. Brushing a full set of teeth should take two minutes. Electric toothbrushes are also available and do an excellent job of cleaning teeth. You may find an electric toothbrush is easier for your child as they take a little less dexterity. Parents should still help their child brush until the age of six or seven or until their dexterity is adequate to brush properly.
Disclosing tablets or rinse—These tablets or rinses stain plaque on teeth a dark pink color so you can show your child why it is important to brush and the spots they are missing when they brush. We use these tablets at visits to our office, but they are also good for home care between visits.
Sealants—Destructive bacteria hide in grooves and pits on the chewing surfaces of back teeth. These areas are usually so small that toothbrush bristles cannot get in them to clean. Sealants coat these grooves and pits to prevent decay from taking place in these high-risk areas. Sealants are made of clear material that bonds to tiny pores on the tooth surface. They are usually only placed on adult teeth and so will not be considered until about age six. Placing sealants will not hurt and your child does not have to be numb for the procedure. Not every child needs sealants. Each child is unique and your dentist will determine if sealants will be beneficial for your child.