Home Care for Your Child

No matter what happens at the dental office, what happens every day at home is more important. Once baby teeth erupt into the mouth, they need to be cleaned. This is often a frightening task for new parents as babies often cry. But just like other body parts are cleaned the teeth need to be cleaned daily as well.

Bacteria that cause cavities do not live in your baby's mouth until the teeth erupt into the mouth. The bacteria are transferred from caregivers (especially moms) to your baby. The bacteria that cause cavities live in the plaque that forms every 24 hours on the teeth. Removing this plaque reduces the amount of bacteria from the mouth and keeps both the gingival (gums) and teeth healthy.

Some babies and young children do not mind having their teeth being brushed while others may be quite disturbed by the process. In a kind and gentle manner, the teeth should be brushed. For the very young child, you might use a finger tooth brush and for the child a child's size tooth brush. Some parents find that holding arms or hands may be necessary. Once routines are established, usually there is less struggling.

There is fluoride free toothpaste for babies and reduce fluoride concentration for children. It is only necessary to moisten the tips of a few bristles in order to benefit from the topical fluoride effect of toothpaste. Since you are controlling the amount of toothpaste, the child is not required to "spit" after brushing.

Usually flossing is introduced after the teeth are in close contact because a tooth brush cannot reach in between the teeth. The back molar teeth become in close contact with each other after the second baby molar erupt around the age of 2 ½ to 3. Although floss pick have become quite popular they are not recommend for long-term use as a new pick would be required for each set of teeth flossed. Floss acts like a sponge to remove the plaque and the reuse of the same pick between multiple teeth only reintroduces the plaque back between the teeth. We have "Y" shaped floss aids which can be used as the floss can be moved along as you are flossing.


Brush the gingiva (gums) as well as the teeth

The tooth brush should be small enough to fit behind the lower front teeth