Oh Lovely Monday’s! The hustle and the bustle of shuffling your kids off to school while you get the morning routine sorted out and ensure they have everything they need for the day! Parenting can be a real challenge, we’ve all been there! We’re here to help you make the best choices when it comes to protecting your kids oral health and ensuring they have the best chance at a healthy life.
Brushing teeth is one of most important habits you can instil in your kids and flossing regularly should be right there along side it.
We get lots of questions about when is the right time, how long, what kind of brush should you use and even what’s the best toothpaste?
While we’re not here to provide any specific product endorsements, what we can tell you are a couple of guidelines intended to help you and your kids achieve the very best habits and results for proper tooth and gum care.
Do you "Floss Like a Boss"?
When Should you brush your teeth?
As often as possible. No seriously, minimum twice a day is the guide line that we’ve all been used to, typically in the morning and before bed. But if you want to give your teeth the best care you should brush and floss after every meal. The reason is simple, food rests that get trapped between the teeth and are not removed are a magnet for bacteria that will attack the soft tissues of the gum and ultimately become irritated and inflamed. If you or your child notice excessive bleeding at the gumline when flossing, this is a sure sign that there are underlying periodontal issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible. In most cases, gums can be re-juvinated and re-invigorated with persistent care, and in certain cases we may even prescribe a special mouth rinse formulated to help you and your youngsters bring those gums back to health. Early prevention is key here. If you wait too long, then you or your child are just asking for a nasty bout with Gingivitis or some other periodontal ailment.
Interesting tip: If you have eaten acidic food or drink as part of your breakfast meal, you may want to wait at least 30 minutes before flossing and brushing as the acids in the foods can soften the tooth enamel and brushing to soon thereafter abrades the soften enamel thus damaging the tooth enamel.
That brings us to the next logical question…
What is the right toothbrush for me or my child?
This really is a factor of two things, comfort and your own personal morphology. If you really want a clear recommendation let Dr. Parlett advise you the correct size and softness when you next come in for an appointment. In general, we recommend you don’t buy a brush with super stiff bristles as this puts too much wear and tear on the teeth, especially for the youngsters who tend to ignore proper brushing technique and need constant reminder, choose a softer bristle brush so they minimize the wear and tear.
We also recommend ultrasonic electric brushes as they do an excellent job of removing food debris and many models even have a built in timer on the unit that pulses at the one minute mark, reminding you to start focusing on a different part of the mouth. You should be brushing for at least 2 minutes minimum and while this is difficult for many children to adhere to we can’t stress enough how helpful it is that you try and instil this good behaviour in them now while they are young. Healthy teeth and gums are a major contributor to over all health. More and more research is proving that poor oral hygiene is a pre-cursor to other more serious ailments. So get them habituated to proper oral health care now and you will have done your kids a major service for their entire lives.
What about mouth wash? Is that good for my child?
The short answer is, no. Or more accurately, it should not be necessary if you have instilled proper oral care habits as there should be no food debris left in the mouth to cause bad breath. If you do include mouthwash or rinses as part of your brushing regime, make sure it’s alcohol free. Most mouthwashes on the market these days are now alcohol free.
Did you know? If you have persistent bad breath, that is a sure sign of an underlying condition that needs Doctor attention. Don’t just mask bad breath with mouth wash or breath freshers. Get to the root cause of the problem!
Should I brush or floss first
We recommend you start with flossing in and around every tooth and then brush after. Flossing takes care of hardened food rests and removes debris that is lodged, brushing then removes that loosened material. You can also consider buying a water pic which does and excellent job of removing debris but also massaging the gums which contributes to overall tooth health.
Remember, Keep Up With your professional cleanings. A certified dental hygienist not only knows how to properly and thoroughly clean your teeth but they are trained to spot signs of potential problems and if caught early can keep you and your children in the best health possible!
As always, ask if you are not sure. Our Dental hygienists are here to help and if you want a refresher on proper brushing techniques at your next appointment be sure to ask.