Dental Hygiene for Preschoolers
It is important for preschool age children to practice good dental hygiene. Some may feel it really doesn’t matter if a preschooler brushes and flosses his baby teeth since they will lose these teeth, anyway. However, this is not true, as cavities in baby teeth can negatively affect adult teeth. The best prevention against tooth decay is to teach a child to follow proper oral heath while they are very young.
The best way to teach good oral hygiene is for a parent/guardian to lead by example. When you brush and floss your teeth every day, your preschooler will see that oral health is a daily routine and, for the most part, a child mimics what he sees in the home.
One way to make brushing easier is to select a toothpaste that is kid friendly – one that has a mild flavor a child will enjoy. Until a child is old enough to know he should not swallow his toothpaste, stick with a non-fluoride toothpaste as fluoride toothpaste should only be swallowed in very small amounts.
Teach your child to brush from left to right for two minutes and make sure they brush every tooth. In the beginning, you will need to brush your child’s teeth for him. Your child should brush his teeth twice a day, and if possible, after eating sugary treats.
Until a child learns to spit in the sink and rinse his mouth properly, he should not use mouthwash.
Preschooler’s teeth need to be flossed each day, as flossing protects against cavities, removes plaque and keeps gums healthy. At first you will need to floss your preschooler’s teeth, but as they age, they can be taught how to floss their own teeth. Many pediatric dentists suggest using a floss holder when flossing your child’s teeth, as it makes the process much easier.
One final note: remember to take your child to a dentist for an exam within six months of the appearance of his first tooth. Dental cleaning and exam appointments should be made twice a year to keep maintain your child’s healthy teeth and gums.