Pediatric Dentistry

What to Look for When Buying a Children’s Toothbrush

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Getting your kids off to a good start in their oral health habits is crucial, even from a young age, when they don’t seem to understand much about what’s going on. Before they get their first teeth, babies need to get their gums cleaned from time to time with a damp cloth or a silicone brush. This habit serves as a great start in oral hygiene, as it gets them used to the process.

Once your baby already has one or more pearly whites, it is time to buy their first toothbrush. With so many options available on the market, it might be intimidating and confusing for new parents. What are you supposed to choose from all those models and functions?

Baby Toothbrush Checklist

While you might find a few toothbrushes that have many added functions and gimmicks, you only need one that meets a few basic criteria:

  • It has a small head
  • It is easy to grip
  • It has soft bristles

Baby toothbrushes should be delicate since the little ones are still teething and may have sore gums. The size should also be adapted to their size, just as their clothes, bathtub or other day to day objects. The head of the toothbrush should be able to fit between their back molars (or the gum that will hold them) and their cheek. The grip of the brush should be soft and big, making the brush easier to handle and grip correctly.

Electric Toothbrushes

One of the most popular choices nowadays for kids is the electric toothbrush. It has many advantages over manual toothbrushes, although they do the exact same thing. Electric toothbrushes can have attractive lights and functions, making brushing more fun and engaging. Some of them have a built-in timer that tells your kid when 2 minutes have passed, educating them about the importance of a thorough brushing session.

Again, the size of the toothbrush should be adapted to the size of your child. Soft or medium bristles are also recommended for their sensitive gums and teeth.

Other Accessories for Cleaning Your Kid’s Teeth

If you want to introduce a good example in your child’s oral hygiene, add floss to their routine as early as necessary (usually it is recommended from the moment they have two teeth touching each other). Be gentle and patient when flossing their teeth, as it can be an unpleasant experience if done hastily.

Replacing Your Child’s Toothbrush

Once you have found the right toothbrush for your child, make sure you can restock. Their toothbrush should be replaced regularly, even more often than an adult’s. Besides replacing it every three months, you need to get rid of their toothbrush whenever they get sick.

Make brushing teeth fun for your kid and you will invest a lot in their oral health for the future. Choosing the right toothbrush is exciting and a great start to a good habit of proper dental hygiene!

Pediatric Dentistry

How to Help Your Child Develop Proper Brushing Technique

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Often, St. Louis parents are so focused on getting their children to establish an oral care routine that they forget about technique. Unfortunately, doing so can lead to dental complications, despite the parents’ best efforts. Below, we explain proper tooth brushing technique in the form of 7 useful tips.

 

Start With the Right Tool

Before learning technique, you should prioritize purchasing the right tools for your children. While most toothbrushes will work fine, you can look for the ADA seal of approval on their packaging to discern which are worth using. Second, choose a head size based on their personal preferences and the shape of their mouths. Generally, young kids like thick handles and small heads, while older children don’t care about handles and like medium or large heads.

 

Note the Number Two

The magic number in oral care is two. Why? Because children need to brush their teeth twice a day and do it for two minutes each time. Now, feel free to push that to three minutes if you want them to do a thorough job, but make sure they always reach the minimum of two. You can use a small hourglass or any other type of timer to do so.

 

Not Too Hard, Not too Soft

Brushing too softly is a common way in which children do not clean correctly. Conversely, some kids get overzealous and brush too hard. The former leads to improper cleaning while the latter can cause gum damage.

 

Use a 45 Degree Angle

Another mistake children often make is using the wrong angle when brushing. What they do is angle their brush around 90 degrees, which feels natural and correct. Unfortunately, doing so leads to a subpar clean and can eventually cause cavities. When instructing your children on how to brush, tell them to use a 45-degree angle instead.

 

Think of Each Tooth Individually

Kids often think of their teeth as a two-part object. In this frame of mind, there is only bottom and top. The better way to think about teeth is as individual objects that each need cleaning. When your kids adopt this mindset, they will take more care in brushing each tooth rather than glossing over them with broad strokes.

 

Don’t Forget the Gums and Tongue

Of course, oral care goes beyond just teeth. You also need to prioritize your children’s gums and tongues. To do so, tell them to brush beyond their teeth and up into their gum areas. Once they are done with teeth and gums, move on to the tongue, which needs cleaning too.

 

Keep Your Brush Clean

Toothbrushes are often breeding grounds for bacteria, which can harm your children. To protect against this danger, keep your children’s brushes upright and separated when they are not in use.

 

If you keep these tips in mind, you can confidently instruct your children on how to clean their teeth properly. Remember to schedule regular dental appointments with your local pediatric dentist to ensure your child’s teeth are cleaned and maintained regularly.

Pediatric Dentistry

How to Store Your Child’s Toothbrush Safely

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Any parent who delves into the world of proper oral care knows that there are a lot of areas to focus on. The two most obvious are your child’s oral care routine and food choices. If your child does not brush, floss, or choose the right foods, their teeth and gums are at risk. An area of oral care that does not get as much attention is the storage of toothbrushes. This might seems like an insignificant issue, but when you explore the health consequences of improper storage, you will probably change your mind. Below, we will explain what you need to know about toothbrush storage. If you have any further questions, it is best to speak with a St. Louis pediatric dentist.

Health Consequences

The primary health concern surrounding improper toothbrush storage is bacteria buildup. Bacteria being in your brush isn’t always a severe threat, given that your mouth houses a significant amount of bacteria naturally, but it can still lead to sickness, tooth decay, and gum weakening.

Before You Store It

After your child uses their brushes, they should rinse it out thoroughly in the sink. This will take around five seconds. When they are done, they should not use a towel to dry to brush. Instead, they should allow for it to air-dry. Once you have these basic guidelines figured out, you can start worrying about storage location.

Far From the Toilet

When a toothbrush is stored near a toilet, the bacteria found in fecal matter has no issue jumping from the toilet to the brush. This was proven in a study done at Aston University, which found that a brush that is within three feet of a toilet is at risk. Though three feet is the minimum distance, you will likely want to be safer and make that six or more. This will not be a problem for many families, but some bathrooms are small enough to make this a valid concern.

Upright

The best way to air dry your toothbrush while avoiding bacteria is having it stand upright. If it is head down, it will be prone to getting dirty and will often dry at a slower rate.

Separated From Other Brushes

A typical way toothbrushes pick up bacteria is from other toothbrushes. You definitely do not want your child’s brush to be touching anyone else’s, and if possible, you should put a few feet of distance between them.

What Not to Do

Two common methods for storage are using a cup full of mouthwash or a plastic casing. Unfortunately, though the intentions of these methods are good, they are ultimately worse than the practices above.

To schedule an appointment, give us a call at (314) 862-7844.

 

Read more: Tips on Buying a Toothbrush for Your Child