Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
We all know it’s important to form healthy hygiene habits from an early age — and a specific one is tooth care. According to the CDC, tooth decay (or cavities) actually “affect children in the United States more than any other chronic infectious disease.”
Dental experts recommend that kids see the dentist by their first birthday, when their teeth are starting to grow, though waiting until they’re 2- or 3-years old is also okay. Parents should help their children brush and floss until they are old enough, or have developed the fine motor skills, to hold a toothbrush and dental floss on their own.
Guidelines from MouthHealthy.org, a new site from the American Dental Association, recommends these brushing techniques:
- Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
- Move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
- Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
- To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.
Since February is Children’s Dental Health Month, brush up on more “toothy” knowledge. Check out these Parents features:
- Toddler Tooth Care: Fighting Against Cavities (new)
- Watch: What to Expect at the Dentist’s Office (new)
- How to Care for Preschoolers’ Teeth (new)
- Overcoming the Fear of Dentists
- 4 Ways to Maintain Healthy Teeth
- Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Care
Image: One year old baby boy with toothbrush via Shutterstock.