As a parent, you want to do right by your child, especially when it comes to their dental health. Good dental hygiene can give your child a boost of confidence and keep them healthy and happy, while poor dental hygiene can lead to a lifetime of lacking dental habits, gum disease, and costly, common trips to the dentist's office to get a tooth fixed or replaced. If you're wondering what the latest practices that can keep your child's teeth healthy are, then here's what you need to know.
Brush With Caution
Out are the days when brushing your teeth vigorously at least 3 times a day was the recommended standard. With the discovery that brushing too often, too forcefully, and for too long can actually damage your teeth by removing enamel and causing the gums to recede, dentists now recommend that brushing twice a day, making sure to brush your tongue, and flossing once a day at nighttime are the best ways to keep your mouth clean without damaging enamel or gums. Wait a half-hour before encouraging your child to brush if they've had something acidic to eat or drink, as this will allow the enamel time to repair itself.
While there's no definitive answer to whether you should have your child floss right before or right after their nighttime brushing, some parents encourage their child to floss and then brush -- dislodging food and plaque before sweeping it away with the toothbrush.
Watch The Fluoride
Schools nationwide used to give children fluoride to swish with before and/or after lunch -- but recent studies are pointing to the fact that easing up on the amount of fluoride given to children might be a good thing for their dental health. Fluoride helps, in small quantities, to strengthen your child's teeth and keep them healthy, but too much, researchers are discovering, can lead to discoloration of the enamel on the teeth.
It used to be that the only access Americans had to fluoride was through the water supply (with 1.2 milligrams per liter in 1962; changed to .7 milligrams in 2015) and the fluoride rinses given by schools and dentists. Now, fluoride can be found in toothpastes and mouthwashes in addition to the water supply, and the effects of fluorosis (overexposure to fluoride) -- weakening and discoloring of the enamel -- can be prevented in part by lessening the amount of fluoride in the water supply.
For more information, contact a family dentist like Edgewood Dental.