Pediatric Dentist Tips: What Parents Should Look for When Supervising Their Child’s Toothbrushing

As a parent, you probably have a lot of questions for your child’s pediatric dentist. You know that teaching good toothbrushing skills to children can be difficult. Very young children may not have the necessary motor skills to brush and floss successfully. Older children may not like toothbrushing and often do not do a thorough job. Pediatric dentists advise you to supervise your child’s toothbrushing until the child is at least seven years of age. Some recommend supervision until the child is as old as 12.

Grasping the concept

It can take years before a child understands what toothbrushing is. Pediatric dentists recommend talking to children about what toothbrushing is and why it is so important. Many parents think that because baby teeth eventually fall out, it is not a big deal to keep them clean or brush them regularly. This is not true. Oral health can affect overall health, even in young children.

Awareness and ability

When children become aware that they have teeth, then parents can begin to talk with them about oral care. Parents can help children practice identifying and counting each tooth. This helps them to look for and attempt to brush each tooth when brushing. Parents may need to brush for the child. Parents can talk about what is going on while moving the toothbrush through the child’s mouth.

Holding a toothbrush takes practice for children. Many children have not developed the motor skills necessary to properly hold a toothbrush until the age of six. That does not mean that children younger than six cannot practice brushing their teeth themselves. But parents should step in and assist or brush the child’s teeth after to reach each tooth and the gums.

Routines for older children

A child can show an ability to brush the teeth and still not do a good job. Parents will want to supervise the child to determine if there is interest and effort. Children who are not interested in brushing their teeth may rush through it or do a poor job. Sometimes, the child does not like the taste of the toothpaste and may not use enough. Parents can experiment with different toothpaste flavors. Adults can watch children to ensure the child uses the correct amount and does not swallow all of it.

Children do not always remember to do things regularly. Pediatric dentists advise developing a daily habit of toothbrushing is essential. Parents may want to set an alarm or designate a specific time that is for toothbrushing. Children can get interested in other things and forget to do things. Until a child demonstrates mastery and consistency, parents will have to remind and guide the child.
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Pediatric dentistry routine appointments can elevate your child’s oral health

Developing good brushing habits takes time as your child develops the needed skills. Pediatric dentists are a great resource and can demonstrate good techniques to you and your child. The pediatric dentist will also be able to assess how well home toothbrushing is going by examining your child’s teeth. Pediatric dentists and parents can work together to prevent cavities and poor oral health in children.

Request an appointment or call Camelback Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics at 602-595-3531 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.

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