So tell me Doc…What are some tips to get your kids to brush better?

I get around 2 questions a day sent to my email from various friends, readers, family, etc asking me dental questions. I have absolutely no problem answering them, as I enjoy taking about my profession. Most of the questions revolve around children and oral hygiene. Some frequently asked questions include when do you take your children to the dentist for the first time? What do you do to get a child’s breath to feel fresh? How many times a year should I bring my little one to the dentist- is twice a year really necessary? How do you know when it is time to go to the dentist? My child is so afraid of dentists- I am afraid I will cause unnecessary anxiety in them?

I decided to write a small post answering some of these questions here since they seem to be the most popular. While I am a professional, these opinions can change based on the dentist you talk to, so please refer to your individual dentist on questions.

1. When do you take your children to the dentist for the first time?:

The answer according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, is to take your child upon eruption of their first tooth. This usually occurs around the age of 4-9 months, and it is suggested to visit the dentist then. While you might think this is not necessary, it gives the dentist time to check the gum tissue and make sure the mouth is overall healthy for the first time. It also establishes a pattern of  showing your children the dentist and how “it is not a scary place.”

2. What do you do to get a child’s breath to feel fresh?:

The answer all comes down to oral hygiene. For a younger child, it is essential that you brush your child’s teeth. In no way and no manner, should they be brushing their own teeth. They are not capable at a young age to brush for the full 2 minutes, and usually they end up putting the toothbrush down at 20 seconds. This contributes to bad breath as they are not establishing healthy oral hygiene. Make sure the parents brush the kids teeth! In terms of toothpaste, find a toothpaste that they like, as long as it is non-fluoridated before they know how to fully spit out. Once they reach the age where they could spit out, you can switch to a fluoridated toothpaste. Also follow up with a mouthwash as this will add to a nice, clean freshness in the mouth.

3. How many times a year should I bring my little one to the dentist- is twice a year really necessary?

Twice a year with no exception! You never know what will happen in a 6 month span, and you want to make sure your dentist is checking out your little ones teeth at these time intervals. They also will receive a cleaning and fluoride treatment, which will instill a good oral hygiene pattern.

4. How do you know when it is time to go to the dentist?

The answer is easy- you should be going every 6 months. Just like children, adults should be frequenting the dentist twice a year. No exceptions should be made unless your dentist recommends it. Please do not wait to visit the dentist when you have a throbbing tooth pain that is keeping you up all night. Chances are at that point, an infection is present in the mouth. Avoid being in pain by visiting the dentist at your regularly scheduled times.

5. My child is so afraid of dentists- I am afraid I will cause unnecessary anxiety in them?:

Most of the anxiety of children stems from parents. Bring them to the dentist with you and show them that the dentist does not cause pain. By watching you and how you handle going to the dentist, their fears will be alleviated. If you are fearful, I can promise you they will be too! Also, there are great children books such as The Bernstein Bears go to the Dentist, which are cute reads that show going to the dentist is fun and pain-free!

I hope I answered a few of the questions I always hear on a regular basis. Oral hygiene is so important- Let’s keep it that way!

 

 

*This is a partnered post. All my opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources.

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Comments

  1. says

    Ah! I was kicking myself that I missed linking up yesterday, but glad I checked in today. This is great info coming from someone who obviously really knows what she’s talking about–as a dentist and a mom! Thanks, Mel!

  2. says

    I had no idea was that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests taking your child to the dentist when their first tooth comes in! I always thought a child’s first visit should be around 2 or 3. Great tips!

  3. Keara B. says

    Great post! My pediatrician told me we didn’t need to take our daughter to the dentist until she was three, so I’m really glad I read this. Thanks so much!

  4. says

    This is a total parentfail on my part! My boy will be 5 in 2 weeks and has not been to the dentist and doesn’t even have a good routine. He has bad breath and I know it is my fault. I need to crack down, make that appointment, and pray for mercy from the dentist on his first visit. Oh…and then get on track with my own dental visits…ugh!

  5. says

    I wish I took better care of my teeth when I was little. My teeth are in such bad shape and I am determined to take good care of Baby C’s so she doesn’t end up like me. I have been researching natural ways to reverse and cure dental decay. Do you have any natural tips to keeping teeth healthy? Have you heard of oil pulling?

    • Melissa says

      Oil pulling? No what is that… I would love to hear more. I don’t have too many natural tips unfortunately:(

  6. says

    What a great post! This was very helpful especially because while my daughter loves going to the dentist, my son is always scared to go. He cried nearly the whole visit last time we were there and they couldn’t do much of an exam. We try to be encouraging and talk about the dentist in a positive way and read him children’s books about the dentist as well. I’m hoping he grows out of it soon.

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