Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dental Health for Young Children #4

I hope you are winning on the side of healthy teeth by eating well and taking care of your teeth even before pregnancy, by beginning visits to the dentist early in your baby’s life, and by developing habits that will see a child through healthy baby teeth and beyond. Let’s talk today about ongoing care of the teeth of young children.
A good plan to start with is to develop the habit of brushing teeth twice a day and flossing once per day. When children have a single tooth, you can clean that little tooth with a clean damp cloth. When your baby has a few more teeth, you can introduce a soft baby tooth brush into the routine. Floss is not necessary at this time because the baby teeth are small with spaces in between. When the permanent teeth come in starting around age 6, your dental hygienist will introduce flossing to clean between the teeth where the brush no longer can reach.
Initially, until age 3, children should brush with only water. They will be swallowing the tooth paste. When they can spit it will be fun to learn to spit out the tooth paste. Use a pea size amount of toothpaste on the brush for a preschooler. Monitor tooth brushing for the next three or four years. It is too easy to for our kiddos to say they’ve brushed their teeth when in reality, they had a toothbrush in their mouth for only 10 seconds. All the teeth need brushing and flossing.
I do apologize for being repetitious on this next point, (I believe I say this every year!) but it made a huge impact on me and why I always floss my teeth. You don’t have to floss all your teeth, just floss the ones you want to keep! This short sentence gives much food for thought. My grandparents and my parents had false teeth. They did not floss. (a word to the wise and to the potentially toothless!)
So in closing today’s column on brushing and flossing, I’ll repeat, You don’t have to teach your child to brush and floss all her teeth, just teach her to floss the ones you would like her to keep her entire lifetime!


Oh Mr. Cloud, Cloud, Mr. Fluffy Cloud
Please snow down on me
Oh Mr. Cloud, Cloud, Mr. Fluffy Cloud
Snow is what I want to see
These little children are asking you
To send some snow, Oh Please won’t you?

Oh Mr. Cloud, Cloud, Mr. Fluffy Cloud
Please snow down on
Please snow down on
Please snow down on me!

(tune: Oh Mr. Sun)

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