brushing

 

Teaching Kids to Brush Teeth

June 7th, 2019

Are you having trouble getting your kids to brush and floss their teeth regularly and thoroughly? We understand – little kids wiggle, don’t open wide, and it can be tough to get them to brush. Don’t stop trying: brushing and flossing are important for preventing cavities and maintaining good oral health.

Parents often ask why it’s important to brush “just baby teeth”. They might be baby teeth, but some of these teeth will be in your child’s mouth until they are 12 years old. Cavities in baby teeth will need to be taken care of which can be painful and expensive. Infections in teeth can also cause other health problems in your child.

Teaching your child good brushing and flossing skills takes time. But, if you start at a young age they will develop an important lifelong skill.

Dr. Barden’s advice on teaching kids to brush and floss:

  • Start when your child is a baby! Before the first tooth even erupts gently wipe your child’s gums with a soft, wet washcloth.
  • Once the first tooth erupts continue to wipe the tooth and consider getting a soft bristle baby brush. You don’t need to use any toothpaste yet.
  • As your child gets more teeth use a tiny bit of children’s fluoride toothpaste. Think the size of a piece of rice. Gently brush the child’s teeth using a rotation.
  • Around the age of 2 your child will likely want to brush their own teeth. Great! Let them brush their own teeth but the parent should do a second brush until the child is able to clean the teeth well on their own (around age 12!)
  • Use special children’s mouth wash that shows areas missed when brushing. This can help the child (and parent) learn how to brush more thoroughly.
  • Floss using floss sticks. They are easier to use than string. Children should floss daily.
  • Do you have a reluctant brusher? Use a sticker or reward chart. Every time your child brushes without a struggle—they earn a sticker on the chart. After a set number of stickers, they earn a desired prize. Just make the reward isn’t candy-related!

We recommend that children start to see a family dentist or pediatric dentist around their first birthday. This dentist will closely monitor your child’s teeth, check for cavities, and determine if treatments, such as sealants, would be beneficial for your child.

Dr. Barden and his team provide every patient with a chart that gives feedback on their brushing and flossing.  We are happy to work with you to teach your child good brushing and flossing skills.

Do you have any creative suggestions that helped your child learn to brush and floss? Share them with everyone on our Facebook page!

Preventing Decay While Wearing Braces

August 20th, 2012


Having braces can present some new challenges when it comes to oral hygiene. Preventing tooth decay can be a big challenge simply because of the tendency for braces to trap food under the wires and between the teeth and the brackets. Here are a few tips to keep your teeth healthy while wearing your braces:

1. Eat Braces-Safe Foods
Keeping your teeth from decay starts with a proper diet. Foods that are high in sugar or starch can cause more plaque which is difficult to remove during your brushing. There are certain foods that should be avoided while wearing your braces. First, sticky foods like caramel or gum can get stuck in your braces and be difficult to remove during brushing. Next, hard foods such as nuts and candy could bend wires or even break a bracket. Foods that are firm or hard to bite into like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob should be avoided. As much as we like to snack on them, those crunchy treats can harm your braces. Things like chips, ice, popcorn can also bend or break your braces.
On the other hand, bananas, mangoes, milk, water, poultry, and pasta all tend to be low in enamel-busting acids.

2. Proper Brushing
You want to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums in order to clean the whole tooth, and brush gently in the area between the wiring and the teeth. Use a softer toothbrush with fluoride paste for best results. Rinsing every day will help, too. Rinsing is important regardless, but especially important when you have braces as you need to disinfect the entire mouth, including those spots under the braces where your brush can't always reach.

3. Ask About Special Cleaning Tools
There are also special brushes, or other tools, to get under and clean your braces. You can also find many of these items at your local pharmacy.

4. Regular Teeth Cleaning
It's important to keep your routine appointments with your dentist and dental hygienist for a thorough cleaning twice a year or as directed. The exact frequency of these visits will be up to your dentist as some types of braces are more demanding of a regular cleaning than others.
As long as you practice good oral hygiene and follow these basic tips, you should have no problem keeping your teeth from decaying while you wear braces.

Top ten tips for keeping your BRACES sparklin’ clean!

July 13th, 2012




Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever when you have braces! Food bits have more spots than usual to hide in your mouth, so you must be diligent in order to avoid bad breath, swollen gums, discolored teeth and cavities. If you remove plaque regularly during treatment, you'll experience better results and shorter treatment time. Keep plaque at bay with these top ten tips:


1. One tooth at a time. When you brush, take time with each individual tooth – at least 10 seconds each – and pay careful attention to the spots where your teeth touch your braces.


2. It’s all about the angles. Brush the tops of your teeth and braces with your brush angled down toward where they meet. Brush the bottoms of your teeth and braces with your brush angled up.


3. The tooth, the whole tooth, nothing but the tooth. While the front surface of your teeth may seem like the most logical to clean, it’s equally important to clean the inner surface of your teeth (tongue side) as well as the chewing surface. And be sure to clean along your gum line – a key spot for plaque buildup.


4. Step 1: eat, step 2: clean. While you’re in treatment, it’s important to brush after every meal. Bits of food can easily get caught between braces and teeth, and these food bits interact with bacteria in your mouth to cause decay. The longer food is in contact with your teeth, the greater opportunity for plaque to form. If you are eating somewhere that you can’t brush, thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.


5. Like a Boy Scout, always be prepared. The easiest way to be sure you can brush after every meal is to get in the habit of taking a toothbrush, toothpaste and floss with you wherever you go. Designate a special container just for your teeth-cleaning tools and keep it in your purse, backpack, or laptop case.


6. Remove the moving parts. If you have elastic bands or headgear, remove these parts before you brush or floss.


7. Fluoride is your friend. Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Be sure to brush with fluoride toothpaste, and rinse with fluoride mouthwash.


8. Pointy brushes reach tiny places. Interproximal brushes (sometimes called proxa brushes or interdental brushes) are cone-shaped and come in very handy for reaching spots around your braces that standard brushes can’t.


9. Find the floss for you. Regular floss works for some patients, but others find it easier to work with a floss threader, which helps you get the floss into tight places. Other patients like an all-in-one product called Superfloss, which comes with a stiff end for easy threading, a spongy section for cleaning wide spaces, and regular floss for narrow spaces.


10. Make time for the pros. It’s your job to take care of the everyday cleaning. But make sure to visit your dentist regularly while in treatment, to get the deep, thorough cleaning that only a professional can provide. If you need help finding the right Dentist for you, feel free to contact our office - we’d love to help!

We hope this helps, and remember to give our team a call if you ever have any questions!

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