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Brush those Teeth! Advice from a Pediatric Dentist

February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Did you know that cavities are the most common chronic disease of childhood? And they are preventable by brushing your kid's teeth regularly! We asked Dr. J of Pediatric Dental Care of Memphis some of YOUR dental health questions. Read on; some of the answers may surprise you!

february is national children's dental health month graphic

When do you start brushing your child's teeth? What about those baby brushes you put on your finger? Are they even necessary?

You want to start brushing the teeth once the first one comes in to the mouth. Kids can bite hard and typically like to chew on the toothbrush, so I would think twice about the finger brush! Before there are any teeth, it is recommended to wipe the gums with a wet towel after feeding.

Is mouthwash necessary?

Mouthwash can be a nice adjunct to brushing and flossing after age six. The big thing is making sure children can spit out the mouthwash prior to incorporating that into the daily regimen. It’s a hard enough battle to keep your child brushing morning and night and flossing nightly, so don’t stress if you aren’t using mouthwash as well.

brush your teeth graphic

Suggested toothpaste brand? Do you need to buy “kid” toothpaste? What about cavity toothpaste vs total care?

We recommend a toothpaste with fluoride in it. Usually, the only difference between adult and children’s toothpaste is the taste or flavoring. The other ingredients are usually the same. As children’s taste buds are developing, they often find the mint flavor to be “hot” or “spicy.” As long as they are using a fluoridated toothpaste that tastes okay to them, they are in good shape. There's even some brands that make color changing toothpaste that goes from one color to another as your child brushes!

From age 0-3, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends using a rice or smear size amount of toothpaste on the brush and from 3-6 years old using the size of a green pea.

Suggested toothbrush brand?

The big brands like Crest and Colgate make great toothbrushes. In reality, though, as long as the toothbrush meets the basic criteria of age appropriate and soft bristle brush, almost any toothbrush will suffice. It is more about consistency of brushing and making sure they get those hard-to-reach spots. There are kids' electric toothbrushes that work well, but the absolute best toothbrush is one that is utilized consistently.

Other Resources

You may need a little help getting your kids excited to brush their teeth each day. Sticker charts, books and countdown apps are all fun ways to encourage daily brushing.

toothbrushing books

toothbrushing apps

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Come see us on Saturday, February 24 at 10:00am at the new Belltower Coffeehouse at Shelby Farms Park! We will read a story about losing a tooth and do a toothbrush-themed craft! It's free!

dentist story time graphic

PDC takes both the child’s and the parents’ feelings into account when we provide dental care. You are free to accompany your child through every part of their dental visit and accommodations can be made for children with sensory needs. Spanish speaking staff available for all visits. We encourage and teach children how to care for their teeth in order to establish a solid foundation for a beautiful smile for a lifetime. PDC has 4 Pediatric Dentists on staff and two locations to choose from.

For fun dental tips & tricks videos, check out their Instagram page here

You can make an appointment by calling 901-560-4386!

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