Back to Basics
by Amy Morgan
During the season where everyone is rushing back to school, it is important to not forget about proper care for your teeth and proper tools for your teeth like tooth brushes!
We want to educate all our patients on the correct tooth brushes, tooth paste, floss, and mouthwashes to use to make sure your teeth are at their best.
Let’s talk toothbrushes first.
Manual Tooth Brushes
Manual tooth brushes have a life of about 3 months. When that 3 months is up, it should be discarded and replaced with an appropriate tooth brush.
For children, it is important to understand what to look for when shopping for a tooth brush. While there are many different options with varying colors and characters, first look at the age on the packaging. The head and brush of a tooth brush is adjusted to appropriate size for the age of the child. Usually most tooth brushes are broken down ages 2-4, 5-7, and 8 and up. Second, we always recommend a soft bristle for kids.
One question we often get, is what do we do for my infant?
We recommend a brand that is called Tenders. This is like a soft wash cloth that slips on to your finger and can be used to wipe the gums and teeth after bottle feeding or breast feeding. This allows the natural sugars to be wiped away and does not allow a build up to be formed that could lead to decay. These come in a variety of colors and are sold within our office.
Another great product for infants that we recommend is called Brushies.
You can find them online and they are like a finger puppet. This silicone, BPA Free, finger tool allows you to slip on the tool and brush their teeth. This will also allow you to massage the gums for teething infants which will soothe their gums during this tender phase. These come in four different animals and also has a book that can be purchased with it to educate your child about the importance of dental care. These are recommended for up to age 2. After 2, we recommend your child switching to an appropriately sized manual tooth brush.
Electric Tooth Brushes
Electric tooth brushes are another great option for your kids. We sell two in our office, one for younger kids and one for older.
Kids Oral B- This electronic brush we sell in our office for $25 plus tax. This kit comes with a rechargeable electronic tooth brush with a detachable head, a mouth wash for kids 8 & up, a set of flossers, and two tubes of tooth paste. It comes in a cute back pack and is available in both of locations.
Genius Gingivitis System- This electronic brush is designed from your older child and sells only at your dental provider for $80 plus tax. This brush has a blue tooth set up that can pair with your phone to allow the user to know how much they are brushing and how well. This can be paired with a parent phone so that you can know how your child is doing. This kit comes with a handle, charger, 3 brush heads, a travel case, and a mirror selfie holder for your child to see what they are doing. This brush features a pulse system to let you know when to move your brush to next quadrant and is on a 2 minute timer. This kit does come with a 20 dollar rebate and also includes a mouth wash, a deep clean tooth paste, and floss.
What about tooth paste? What should I look for?
The biggest question that we get is should my child have fluoride tooth paste or not? We follow AAP Guidelines, which states, “The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), along with the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), agree that water fluoridation is a safe and effective way to prevent tooth decay….The AAP and the ADA recommend using a “smear” of toothpaste on children once the first tooth appears and until your child is 3. Once your child has turned 3, a pea-sized amount can be used.” If you have any questions on how much to use, feel free to always call us and we would be happy to help you!
Kids Tooth Paste
For Kids Tooth Paste, we usually give out either a bubble gum or mint flavored sample of our Kids Cavity Protection Crest Tooth Paste. It can be bought at Walmart. We also give out the Gum Detoxify sample. Some other great options include stand up options with fun characters that help prevent messes and spills. Other recommendations include Crest Pro Health and Crest Cavity Protection, but following AAP guidelines we recommend that all kid tooth paste be fluoridated. We do not recommend using any whitening agent in your tooth paste until your child has received all of their permanent teeth.
When should my child start flossing?
We recommend that your child should start flossing when their teeth start touching. We teach children to use traditional floss or floss picks and teach the correct method to do so. If you child is struggling to use traditional floss, we recommend picking up floss picks that have an easy grip for your child to use and floss their teeth. A great product we recommend is Oral B Glide Floss which we give a sample size away in the office. However, this will not last long and we recommend picking up a full size to last until your next visit.
When should my kids start using Mouth Wash?
Kids can start using mouth wash as part of their daily routine when you feel comfortable that they can spit the mouth wash out. Once a child starts using mouth wash, we do recommend that child be supervised until you are confident that they will not swallow the mouth wash.
What about additional resources?
We follow all AAP guidelines that can be found at AAPD.org. Under the tab parent resources are some great sources of information about your child’s dental care. They also include some great brochures and a kid friendly part of the site called Health Mouth Monsters. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions that you might have.
If you need assistance in your selection of dental tools for your child, feel free to give us a call at our Fayetteville location: 479-582-0600 or Bentonville location: 479-268-5000, or stop by one of our locations and we will be happy assist you!