Oral care for kids as their adult teeth appear

Children start losing their baby teeth at ages 5 to 8 years, and by the age of 13, most kids have a full set of permanent, adult chompers. Experts advise that parents should form the habit of brushing and flossing milk teeth as soon as they emerge in the first year of life. But not much is explained about how to take care of new, permanent teeth that have started to appear.

Well, the same principle applies; brush the nubs regularly and continue doing so once they have fully emerged. A daily routine of brushing, rinsing and flossing is encouraged, preferably twice a day. Your child can use regular adult fluoride toothpaste once he or she turns six.

One thing to consider is that children have limited dexterity, which means that the range of movement in their hands hasn’t fully developed yet. This means that parents should still be assisting with brushing, up until the child is around 13. Reaching into parts of the mouth that may be hard to reach, including the back or the molars, is important in fighting tooth decay.

How do I brush my child’s teeth?

Raising Children explains that parents should stand or sit in front of the child and cup your child’s chin in your hands, with his or her head resting against your body.

Angle the bristles of the toothbrush towards the gum. Move the brush in gentle circles to clean the outer and inner sides of the teeth and gums. Lift your child’s lips to brush the front and back of the teeth and at the gum line. Brush back and forth on the chewing surfaces of the teeth.

Explain carefully how to rinse with water and mouthwash. Make sure to emphasise that they should spit as they rinse and should not swallow the used water or mouthwash.

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