The Importance of Parents Brushing and Flossing Regularly
Posted on 7/28/2015 by Jonathan Woodyard
Children are like little sponges. They are soaking up everything you do from the time they are born. They are watching how you walk to how you eat and take care of yourself. Brushing and flossing your teeth properly and regularly is laying the foundation for your child's future oral health even from the time they are a baby.
Taking the Time to Be the Example Starting from early on, include your baby in the bathroom as you brush and floss. Bouncy seats are an easy resource for placing your child safely in the room while you are hands free to take care of your teeth and gums. It may not seem like much for them to just watch you now. But keep in mind, most babies are walking within a year just from watching those around them. Allowing them to watch you take care of your teeth now is laying the framework for them to build on in later years.
You can begin to include your baby in the process before they even cut their first tooth. Wiping their gums down with a soft cloth is the first step to establishing their oral health routine. When they do cut their first tooth, baby toothbrushes are available. You only need to sparingly use a small smear of toothpaste though.
Staying Committed Creating a healthy long term habit of brushing and flossing not only safeguards your oral health, it allows the routine to become a family matter. As children become older, they are less inclined to do a good job on their own teeth. They are in a hurry to get off to school or they are too preoccupied with other ventures before bed to be disciplined enough on their own.
Brushing and flossing together, at the same time, will help your child know how long to brush for. It will also allow you to ensure they are flossing and doing a good thorough job. Over time, this routine will become more like a second nature and can even help your child settle down for bedtime.
Some Common Mistakes to Avoid Avoid sharing toothbrushes. The mouth is a place for bacteria to grow rampantly. Sharing these bacteria is a good way to share illness and promote gingivitis. Also, adult toothbrushes are larger than a child's. It is important to use the correct size toothbrush to avoid scratching the gums. An uncomfortable or painful tooth brushing experience will deter a child from wanting to brush their teeth. It is not easy to calm a child and forcing them as a power struggle is not setting the proper example.
Ensure your child is rinsing their mouth after brushing. Fluoride is generally harmless unless ingested in large amounts over time. To minimize the risk of swallowing fluoride, have your child use a training paste until they can sufficiently spit out all of the toothpaste on their own. After they are done brushing, have a small paper cup for them to rinse their mouth with water. This is a good habit to also mimic for them and can lead to regular use of mouthwash later on when their mouths can handle the sensation.
Children's toothbrushes need to be replaced often. More often than your adult toothbrush. Children tend to bite their bristles and over a short amount of time can become frayed. Frayed bristles will not effectively remove plaque and can scratch the gums.
All toothbrushes are recommended to be replaced every 3-4 months, but it may be necessary to replace your child's toothbrush every couple months. They can become attached to their superhero or princess characters, so buying a multi-pack at a time can provide a seamless transition to the new one and save a few bucks.