4949 Westown Pkwy Suite 150
West Des Moines , IA 50266-6716
(515) 225-0066

Let’s get back to basics!

Today’s blog post will address many parents’ common questions and concerns.

When should my child brush their teeth? 

Children should brush twice daily, ideally after breakfast and before bedtime with fluoride toothpaste.  Parents should help brush (“brush as a team”) until the child is approximately six-years-old to make sure they are doing an adequate job.  Just because a child likes to brush doesn’t mean they are brushing all the hard-to-reach spots! 

How much toothpaste should we use?

Age < 3 years Smear Fluoride Toothpaste
Age > 3 years  Pea-sized Fluoride Toothpaste

Make sure you help your child learn to spit out extra toothpaste rather than swallowing.  And don’t rinse afterward!  Rinsing with water or mouthwash washes away all the hard work you did putting the toothpaste on the teeth.  Children age 6 and over can begin using a mouthwash before brushing to get the maximum effect of both products.

When should a child see a dentist for the first time?

Age 1, or within six months of the appearance of their first tooth.  Dr. Diana and Dr. Matt are specially trained to work with little ones.  Some family dentists or medical doctors may say that children should begin going to the dentist later, but we know from experience that sometimes, children already have cavities or other problems by age 2. 

If your baby doesn’t have teeth yet, try using a clean washcloth wet with water and moving it around their gums and tongue when in the bath.  This helps them have a clean mouth and get used to getting their gums cleaned so that when teeth come in and it’s time to use a toothbrush, they are ready!

What kind of toothbrush and toothpaste is best?

Any soft-bristled age-appropriate toothbrush is great.  Electric or manual can be used as both are effective.  Older children and patients with limited dexterity may benefit from an electric toothbrush to help them brush by the gumline. 

Any fluoride toothpaste is suitable, but many times children prefer bubble gum flavor because it is milder than mint.  Three-year-olds are famous for saying that mint toothpaste (or anything they don’t like) is “too spicy!”

Look for fun characters on toothbrushes and toothpastes to help motivate your child to brush.  Also, if your child has teeth that touch each other, they should be flossed daily.

Is flossing really that important?

YES.  Flossing is a critical part of preventing decay from starting between teeth.  If teeth are in contact, then plaque will accumulate there.  If the bacteria in plaque aren’t removed daily, they can cause cavities.  Sometimes children can be difficult to floss.  Floss picks, pictured below, can help parents and children floss. 

Make sure you come in for your child’s check-ups and cleaning visits to get individualized recommendations.  Thank you for choosing us to take care of your children.