Family Dental Care: Losing Teeth & More
This post is our second of three that will focus on issues important to family dental care. The previous post addresses some concerns that can arise during pregnancy, early oral care for your baby, and his or her first trip to our dentist office in Rochester Hills, MI.
Family care is part of the foundation of our practice, and if you live in or near our area, we encourage you to find out how we approach family dentistry at Hubbard & Leath Dental.
Today we will focus on teaching your children to brush and floss on their own, and some steps you can take to help protect your children’s oral health.
At Hubbard & Leath Dental, our team believes you and your family deserve the best dental care that we can provide.
Learning To Brush For Themselves
We mentioned in our previous post the we welcome children to make their first visit to our office around the age of 2. Another milestone often happens around your child’s third birthday.
As your children get older they will want to demonstrate their independence. One way they can do that is by brushing and flossing their own teeth. (Frankly, you will probably appreciate when you don’t have to do this for them anymore.)
Make sure your child has his or her own soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. He or she will want to squeeze a small amount of toothpaste — about the size of a pea — onto the toothbrush. This is plenty of toothpaste to scrub their whole mouth. (It’s also all you need as an adult, too.)
To teach your child, you may want to brush your teeth at the same time. This way you can demonstrate how to brush your teeth on all sides and for at least two minutes twice per day.
If you have a smartphone or tablet, you may want to download apps such as Aquafresh Brush Time, Brush DJ, and others that may help make brushing and flossing more fun for your son or daughter. (Many of these apps are free.)
And remember to have your child spit out the toothpaste when he or she is finished.
Flossing daily is just as important as brushing to fight tooth decay and gum disease. Let’s review the steps for flossing.
First, break off around 18 inches of dental floss. This can be any kind of floss, as long as it is a dental floss that you and your child will use.
Wrap the ends of the floss around your middle fingers. Hold the floss the middle so you can work it between your teeth and under your gums. Wind and unwind the floss as needed to use a clean piece between your teeth.
Throw away the floss when you are done.
Making brushing and flossing a habit now will serve your children well as they get older and into adulthood.
Making Way For Permanent Teeth
Around the age of 6 or 7, most children will begin losing their primary or baby teeth.
This is necessary to make room for his or her permanent or adult teeth. Baby teeth serve as placeholders and as guides for adult teeth.
A tooth may fall out on its own in a matter of days or over the course of a few months.
Your child may wiggle these teeth as they notice they are coming loose. This should not hurt anything in most cases.
If a tooth falls out sooner than it should, then we may want to take steps to maintain the spacing so the adult tooth has room to erupt.
Most of the time, your child’s baby teeth will have fallen out around age 13. If a baby tooth does not fall out when it should, this can affect how the adult tooth erupts. If this happens, we may want to discuss removing the baby tooth.
Additional Preventive Efforts
Brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist twice a year are basic preventive steps.
Dental sealants and fluoride treatments are additional steps to reduce the risk of cavities. Sealants are applied the most vulnerable teeth to create a barrier to protect against bacteria. Fluoride strengthens the enamel of your children’s teeth.
As your children get older, many of them will participate in sports or other high-impact activities. This would be a good time to talk to our dentists about getting this appropriate kind of athletic mouthguard to wear during those activities.
You don’t want your child to develop cavities and neither does our team at Hubbard & Leath Dental. Teaching your children to brush and floss correctly will reduce their risk oral health problems.