Some aspects of caring for teeth and gums remain the same throughout your lifetime: brushing twice daily, flossing, and scheduling dental checkups every six months. Other things, such as oral care products, change to accommodate the development of baby and permanent teeth. Dr. Ryan Hussong, who provides dentistry for children in Polk City, IA, offers tips on finding the right products for your growing child.
Toothbrushes for Tots
Because your child’s mouth is smaller than your own, choose a toothbrush that has a smaller head. A child who attempts to use a too-large toothbrush may have difficulty maneuvering the brush to reach all of his teeth, or the larger head may trigger a sensitive gag reflex. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Children tend to brush more forcefully than is necessary, and stiffer bristles could damage sensitive teeth and gums. As an adult, you should replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, but Dr. Hussong advises that children’s toothbrushes may need more frequent replacement if the bristles appear worn or frayed.
Pick Your Paste
We don’t necessarily recommend one brand over another, but we do suggest selecting toothpaste that has earned the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association. This indicates that claims made by the product manufacturer have been substantiated, and that the product meets safety standards. Until the age of two, use specially formulated fluoride-free baby toothpaste. Around the age of three, you can switch your child to a fluoridated toothpaste. Taste is a big deciding factor for kids, so we recommend letting your little one choose an appealing flavor.
Mouthwash? Not for Young Children
Fluoride mouthwash strengthens tooth enamel, helping to prevent tooth decay. Many of these products also contain alcohol and should not be given to a child under the age of 6 years old. The same applies to most available mouthwash and rinses, as younger children are more likely to swallow the liquid instead of swishing and spitting. Dr. Hussong points out that many municipalities add fluoride to the public water supply, which in many cases is adequate enough that fluoride treatments aren’t necessary.
The best oral care products are the ones that you use. To learn more about dentistry for children in Polk City, IA, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ryan Hussong, contact Cornerstone Dental Group at (515) 984-6001. We welcome families living in Ames, Alleman, Ankeny, Grimes, Urbandale, and the surrounding areas.