Picking a toothbrush and toothpaste for a child is an important decision so tips from a family dentistry office can help when choosing. Brushing teeth twice a day is a child's first defense against tooth decay and gum disease. Picking the wrong toothpaste and toothbrush can leave their teeth exposed to plaque accumulation and worn out teeth enamel.
It is also important to note that children cannot always use the same products adults use to clean their teeth. Kids have different dental needs compared to adults, and their teeth and gums are much more delicate.
Things to consider when shopping for oral hygiene products for a kid
Here are a few tips from a family dentistry office parents should consider when picking a toothbrush and toothpaste for a child.
1. Fluoride-free or fluoride-infused toothpaste
The American Dental Association calls fluoride "nature's cavity fighter." The title is well-deserved, considering how this mineral helps strengthen and protect teeth. Tap water in most developed countries is a good source of fluoride, and it is added to many dental hygiene products.
However, taking in too much fluoride often leads to a condition called fluorosis. This often leads to discolored teeth and molten enamel.
This is the primary reason most dentists recommend staying away from fluoride-infused products until the child is two. Children under this age have a tendency to swallow toothpaste, and doing that often leads to the injection of too much fluoride.
Once the child understands the concept of spitting out toothpaste after brushing, they are ready for a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Parents are advised to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste just in case the child accidentally swallows it while brushing.
2. The difference between toothbrush types
When picking a toothbrush and toothpaste for a child, the best toothbrush is not always a brush. Dentists often recommend simply using a damp cloth to clean the gums and emerging teeth of newborns. Once the first tooth has fully erupted, it is safe to start using a toothbrush designed specifically for children. These toothbrushes have tiny heads, making it easier for them to fit inside a child's mouth.
Parents should start teaching children how to brush on their own around the time they reach two years old. They likely will not do a good job of brushing their teeth at this point, but they certainly need the practice. Parents should always give them a turn before brushing for them.
Parents can make dental hygiene fun for children by allowing them to select their own toothbrush and toothpaste. An electric toothbrush can also help make brushing more fun for young children.
Once a child reaches the age of five, they should be able to brush properly on their own. It still a good idea to supervise brushing sessions until good habits are established. Once a child reaches the age of eight, they should be able to independently brush their teeth.
Want to learn more about picking the right dental hygiene products for children? Schedule a consultation with one of our family dentists today.
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