Dental care home regimen involves things like finding the right toothpaste, toothbrush, mouth rinse, floss and correct technique for brushing and flossing. Of all these important things to have, the most basic part of dental care is tooth brushing. It would always start on finding the right toothbrush.
Toothbrush comes in many forms, shape and colors. All of these attributes are necessary and useful depending on what age group your child belongs to. As an engineering motto goes, “structure defines function”. Each toothbrush design is made for a particular purpose.
There are a lot of toothbrushes in the market. You might be confused as to what type of toothbrush is right for your child. Certain types of toothbrushes are custom-made for your child’s age. Choosing the appropriate type of toothbrush for him is very essential in having an effective oral hygiene.
When does your child start using toothbrush? By the time the first tooth appears, that could be around six month of age. Baby’s delicate teeth and gums should be cleaned right from the early stage. There are infant toothbrushes available in baby stores or any drug store or pharmacy. These toothbrushes come in three sets. The first one is a soft rubber tip with soft rubberized protrusions. This type helps to remove sticky milk on the gums. This can also serves as baby’s teeter to relieve his itching gums. The second one is tiny rounded toothbrush with two lines of soft bristles. This is used when the first two teeth on the lower front gums have already erupted. This serves as his first real toothbrush on which he can practice using before more baby teeth erupt. The third one on the set is a tiny rounded toothbrush with three files of soft bristles. This is used when your baby has several teeth already.
As he enters toddlerhood, his toothbrush should be made more capable for brushing a set of 20 teeth. At this time, he should use appropriate toothpaste for kids (without fluoride). Remember though that he is not allowed to use toothpaste until age 2. Parents or guardians should still help him brush his teeth correctly. If not, his teeth will not be thoroughly cleaned. Typically, toothbrush for this age has rounded head with rubber lining, soft bristles and easy-grip stem. The stem is also lined with rubber to cushion his tiny hands. This also gives a slip-free advantage.
During pre-school age, the toothbrush is essentially the same with toddler toothbrush. The only difference is the toothpaste indicator found on the middle of the bristles. It has a different color with the bristles because, it tells them the right amount of toothpaste to use. If your child is using toothpaste, make sure he knows how to spit it out and rinse his mouth, especially if it contains fluoride. It is very dangerous for your child to ingest fluoride on a regular basis.
By age six, usually the 2 lower front teeth fall and permanent teeth erupt. Also the first permanent molars come in behind the last baby molar. This calls for more efficient toothbrush. Longer soft-bristled toothbrush with larger and rounded head helps the brushing of the permanent teeth easier and more effective.
At age twelve, the second permanent molars are erupted. There are toothbrushes in the market with longer bristles arranged in crisscross manner to reach the creases of the teeth. Other types available have bendable heads to get to hard to reach areas. Others are battery-operated for effortless brushing strokes.
If your child is having an orthodontic treatment such as braces, his toothbrush should have longer side row bristles and shorter on the center. This structure can effectively clean the spaces around the brackets. Interdental toothbrush is a tiny toothbrush used to reach those parts which are impossible to clean with a regular size toothbrush.
All toothbrushes should always be rinsed out with hot water to reduce bacterial accumulation. Whenever your child is sick, make sure you throw away that toothbrush and have him use a new one. Also make sure the toothpaste is not directly placed on the bristles of the toothbrush when your child is sick. You can use your finger to get the toothpaste and place it on the toothbrush.
Now regarding electric toothbrushes: Are they better? They sure are. They definitely clean the teeth and gums better. Children 6 and up can use this type of toothbrush. There are several different types and brands available on the market. The best is to ask your dentist for advice on which type is best.
No matter what age your child is, soft bristles are required for a good toothbrush. Use an appropriate toothbrush for your child’s age to have an effective and better brushing experience. Teach your kids to brush their teeth at least twice a day. We will talk about other areas of oral hygiene in another article. Click here to learn how you can tell if your child is actually brushing.
Oral health and dental care is essential for your child to keep healthy gums and teeth. Good oral hygiene has to start from early age. Children who are brought up with good oral hygiene habits, will avoid future dental problems like cavities, gum disease, infections and many more. Tooth decay is one of the highest incidence of oral diseases, so why not protect our kids?
If you have any questions or want an appointment to learn the proper way of brushing, or if you want us to teach your kids the proper way of brushing and flossing, please call 323-771-7254.
By Ladan Zinati