It’s always a good time to “brush up” on some pediatric dental health wisdom! Dr. Mark Shaw, a Pediatric Dentist at First Impressions Pediatric Dentistry in Appleton, recently answered some frequently asked questions regarding brushing and flossing.
How soon should a child begin having their teeth brushed?
As soon as the first tooth pokes through, it should be gently brushed with a soft-bristled toothbrush and warm water. (We actually recommend wiping baby’s gums with gauze each morning and evening – before teeth even erupt – as this helps to wipe away the sugars found in milk).
How much toothpaste should we use?
As teeth continue to erupt, and up until about two years of age, we recommend brushing your child’s teeth with a small smear of fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice).
For children about three years of age and older, you may use a pea-sized dollop of fluoride toothpaste. Continue assisting them and supervising to ensure all teeth are brushed, and that they spit out the toothpaste when finished.
When can my child brush their teeth completely independently?
Many parents are surprised to learn that they should help brush their child’s teeth up until they are about 8 years old. This is when fine-motor skills become better developed. (A good cue is when your child’s letter-forming and handwriting skills mature). Each child is different, and some may be able to brush independently sooner, while others need to wait longer. However, a child can – and should – brush their teeth themselves as best they can; a parent’s role is to “supervise” and help finish touching up any spots the child tends to miss.
When should my child begin flossing?
As soon as two or more teeth touch, floss should be used to remove food particles and plaque in-between teeth.
What role does water play in dental health?
The importance of drinking water cannot be overstated. Especially when parents and children are busy and on-the-go, taking sips of water throughout the day is essential to rinsing food particles and bacteria away from teeth. Limit fruit juices and other sugar-laden drinks.
Where can we learn more?
Visit fidkids.com or call 920-734-4649.
Dr. Mark Shaw is a Pediatric Dentist and Partner with First Impressions Pediatric Dentistry. He earned his Doctorate of Dental Science from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and completed his Pediatric Dentistry Residency at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children. He and his wife Casey, along with their son Brody, enjoy calling Appleton home! Dr. Mark especially enjoys camping, golfing, and cooking.