Knowing Which Toothbrush Is Best for Your Child

November 1 was National Brushing Day, which reinforces the importance of children’s oral health and promotes good tooth-brushing habits. Choosing the best toothbrush for your child is important to ensure that they can properly care for their teeth. With different ages comes different toothbrushes, and it’s important to know when to switch them out. 

0 – 3 Years Old

Although your child doesn’t have any teeth at the beginning of this stage, you can start by wiping their gums with a damp cloth after feeding to keep them clean. Once their teeth begin to erupt through their gums, you can use a toothbrush with a tiny head. This allows the toothbrush to be able to fit into their mouth and keep their teeth clean while helping your child get  used to brushing their teeth.

3 – 5 Years Old

As more teeth begin to erupt, a toothbrush with a smaller head and a larger handle is best. This makes it easier for your child to hold since they have smaller hands. At this stage, you should supervise and help out your child brush to ensure that they are effectively cleaning their teeth.

5 – 8 Years Old

For these ages, a slimmer handle is recommended for your child’s grip and larger jaw size as compared to previous brushes. While your child is becoming more independent with brushing in this stage, it is still important to supervise and make sure they are properly brushing.

8 Years and Older

Once your child has reached the age of 8 or older, they can begin to brush their teeth themselves without supervision. Your child’s toothbrush at this stage is very similar to an adult toothbrush. The American Dental Association suggests that powered toothbrushes may make the process easier for some children, although manual brushes work just as well.

Figuring out which toothbrush to buy for your child can be difficult, but our pediatric specialists are here to help! Ask what brush they recommend for your child at their next appointment to ensure they’re getting the best clean possible. 

Keeping Your Child’s Smile Healthy for Dental Hygiene Month

Every year in October we celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month! This is the time of the year when we recognize the work dental hygienists do, and help raise awareness on the importance of good oral health. As your partner in oral health, your dental hygienist helps to keep your child’s teeth clean and educate on and treat all forms of gum disease. Here are a few tips from our hygienists on ways you can keep your child’s smile healthy.

Stick to a routine.

It’s much easier for your child to remember to brush when you make it part of their daily schedule. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends keeping a regular routine of brushing two times a day. If your child is due for a cleaning or dental work, be sure to schedule and keep their appointment.

Brush to their favorite song.

It is important to brush for two minutes. An easy way to time your child is to brush for the length of their favorite song. As well, make sure they are using soft bristles to avoid damaging their gums. Make sure that they focus on the gumline and scrub every surface of each tooth. While both manual and electric toothbrushes are effective when used correctly, some of the benefits of electric toothbrushes include built-in timers, light indicators that indicate if your child is brushing too hard, and notifications that let them know when to replace the brush head.  

Use a toothpaste with fluoride.

Choose a toothpaste that has fluoride, a mineral that helps prevent cavities. Also, make sure the toothpaste has the ADA seal of approval, which means it is safe and effective.   

Choose an effective oral rinse.

Choose an oral rinse that will kill bacteria in your child’s mouth. If they have dry mouth, it’s best to use an alcohol-free rinse.

Drink lots of water.

The ADA explains that water, particularly water with fluoride, can strengthen teeth and help to prevent tooth decay. Be sure your child drinks a lot of water to help rinse acids and food particles away. This is especially important when eating dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, which tend to stick to your teeth. 

Don’t forget to floss.

While flossing may not be their favorite thing to do, it is beneficial to clean between your child’s teeth to reduce bacteria. Any floss will do, though you may want to choose a waxed floss if your child has tight contacts. If you know your child will not floss, make sure to get another tool to clean between their teeth, such as a water flosser, interproximal brushes, and toothpicks.  

Achieving optimal oral health requires a partnership between you and your child’s hygiene team. If you’d like to discuss your child’s oral health or are ready to make an appointment, contact us today. We’d love to see their smile!

Schedule an appointment today!

Making Your Child’s Tooth Fairy Visit Magical

As children grow, they begin to lose their baby teeth. Most kids lose their first tooth around the age of 6, and will continue to lose their baby teeth until around the age of 12. With each tooth loss, comes the tooth fairy!

National Tooth Fairy Day is celebrated today, August 22.  Losing a tooth is always exciting, because that means the tooth fairy will be paying your child a visit. Children leave their tooth under their pillow and anxiously await for sleep to arrive so that the tooth fairy can leave them a reward. Getting to be the tooth fairy is fun, but it can also be difficult to come up with ways to make it special for your child. 

Here are a few tips on how to make a visit from the tooth fairy magical!

  • Leave gifts — Whether it’s a couple of dollars or a toy you know your child will like, leaving a surprise under their pillow can make your child feel special. 
  • Write letters — Leaving letters for your child from the tooth fairy regarding oral health can be a great way to encourage them to brush their teeth and keep their teeth clean — since the tooth fairy said so!
  • Make a gift box — Create and leave a gift box under your child’s pillow that they can decorate themselves to help get excited about the tooth fairy. They leave their teeth inside, and in the morning their gift will be waiting for them! 
  • Add some magic — Adding things like glitter, stickers, or even a signature to the letters under your child’s pillow can help add to the excitement and magic of the tooth fairy. 

There’s nothing better than seeing the excitement on your child’s face when they realize they’ve been visited by the tooth fairy, and it can even be fun for you in the process! Do you have questions about your child’s baby teeth? Schedule an appointment to chat with one of our experienced pediatric specialists.

Helping Your Child Overcome Dental Anxiety 

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is coming up on May 7. This day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development. We understand the anxieties that are associated with going to the dentist. We have a passion for providing a positive dental experience at a young age that can cultivate a lifetime of good oral care. 

Sedation Dentistry 

A common practice for helping to ease dental anxiety in children is called sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry helps patients feel calm, relaxed and at ease during dental procedures. Other than general anesthesia, most forms of sedation dentistry are referred to as conscious sedation dentistry or “twilight sleep.” It creates a state of short-term amnesia where you experience insensitivity to pain without the loss of consciousness.

Types of Sedation

There are three forms of sedation used when it comes to sedation dentistry:

  • Nitrous oxide sedation: This is a safe and effective sedative agent that is mixed with oxygen and inhaled through a small mask over your child’s nose. Sometimes referred to as “laughing gas,” nitrous oxide is one option your dentist may offer to help make your child more comfortable during certain procedures.
  • Oral sedation: This involves medication administered upon arrival to the office allowing your child to get comfortable and the medication to take effect before the procedure begins. Children are awake during the procedure but many have very little memory of the visit. Falling asleep during the procedure is common, but they are responsive to a gentle shake. Our providers who offer oral sedation are certified by the Board of Dentistry in their state.
  • Hospital sedation: For children who may have a difficult time receiving treatment in a dental practice, many of our providers offer the opportunity for your child to visit a surgery center or hospital to receive care. Under general anesthesia, patients will be asleep and cared for by a team of professionals.

The type of sedation treatment that is best for your child will be carefully determined by their dental care provider. If you think your child would benefit from sedation dentistry, reach out to your dentist to find out more about it and discuss the options available at your practice. We want your kids to love coming to see us!

Let’s Talk about Sealants for Children’s Dental Health Month

What is Children’s Dental Health Month?

The American Dental Association designates every February to Children’s Dental Health Month. This month helps to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, caregivers, teachers and many others. 

This year’s theme is “Sealants Make Sense.” Sealants are an effective way to help prevent caries — the decay and crumbling of a tooth. As it progresses, this decay can develop into a cavity. A report by The American Academy of Pediatrics found that dental caries is the most common chronic disease of childhood, with 59% of 12 to 19-year-olds having at least one documented cavity. Cleaning every space in your mouth can be hard, especially the back molars that are susceptible to leftover food. Sealants can add a layer of protection from this buildup.

What is a sealant? 

A sealant, according to MouthHealthy.org, is a thin, protective coating (made from plastic or other dental materials) that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. While these aren’t a substitute for brushing and flossing, they can keep cavities from forming and can even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.

Promoting Good Oral Health in Children

Sealants are an effective part of children’s dental health because they help to prevent cavities, but there are many other ways to promote oral health in children as well. Brushing teeth twice a day with a pea-sized drop of toothpaste, flossing once a day, drinking fluoridated water and cutting back on sugary drinks can all help keep your child’s teeth healthy. And, as always, don’t forget to schedule regular dental checkups! Contact us today to make an appointment. 

Kid's Dentistree is a part of Mortenson Dental Partners.

Knowing Which Toothbrush Is Best for Your Child

November 1 was National Brushing Day, which reinforces the importance of children’s oral health and promotes good tooth-brushing habits. Choosing the best toothbrush for your child is important to ensure that they can properly care for their teeth. With different ages comes different toothbrushes, and it’s important to know when to switch them out.  0 […]

Read More