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Kids & Teens

2-5 years

  • Brushing Teeth. As a preschooler, ages 2 to 5, you should brush your child’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste; once after breakfast and once at night right before bed. The last thing your child’s teeth should touch before going to bed and for the rest of the night is the toothpaste from their brush. Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and smear it into the bristles with your finger to minimize swallowing toothpaste. Brush your preschooler for at least 1 minute each time. Teach your child to “spit out” the toothpaste after brushing as soon as possible.
  • Proper Toothpaste. For very young children (age 2 to 3), avoid sweet-tasting children’s toothpaste that your child may be more apt to swallow, and instead use a pea-size amount of adult toothpaste like Colgate Total, which contains triclosan with additional antibacterial, anti-tartar and gum health benefits.
  • Supervision during Brushing Teeth. Young children should always be supervised while brushing and taught to spit out rather than swallow toothpaste. You should brush your child’s teeth until they are 7 or 8 years old because your child lacks the manual dexterity to do so properly until that age. Brushing should last for 2 minutes. Once you have observed that your child can brush properly on their own, then let your child brush independently.
  • Flossing. Flossing should begin when and where teeth are touching. Back molars usually begin touching at age 3 or 4. At this point, food can easily get trapped between the teeth and lead to cavities.

6-11 years

It’s Tooth Fairy time! Around age 6, your child will begin to lose primary teeth in the front and gain permanent teeth in the front and back. Once the teeth start to touch (could be around ages 3–5 too), you should floss your child’s teeth (flossers work well). Children typically don’t brush along the gum line or the back teeth, so pay special attention to these problem areas. However, almost 90% of cavities in permanent molars occur in the grooves. Dental sealants are a great way to protect the permanent molars and other teeth at risk of getting decay. They are a white coating that is placed over the grooves of the teeth to prevent plaque and food from getting stuck and causing cavities.

Up until your child is 7 years old, you should assist him/her while brushing because children often lack the motor skills to do it right. After that, observe your child’s technique and assist where necessary until he/she can effectively brush without supervision. Brush your teeth at the same time to help teach your child to brush by mimicking you. Although a regular children’s brush is perfectly fine for cleaning teeth, sometimes a children’s electric brush can make the experience more fun for your child, increasing motivation to brush. Once again, tooth brushing should happen twice a day – once in the morning after breakfast and right before bedtime. Brushing after snacks is ideal too. At age 6 and above, brushing should take 2 minutes each time.

When brushing your teeth and your child’s teeth, angle the toothbrush at a 45˚ angle towards the gum-line and use small circular strokes. Brush the front of the teeth, behind the teeth and the chewing surfaces. Don’t forget to brush the tongue to remove potential bad breath bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. Take 2 full minutes to brush properly.

During these ages and older, children become more active with sports, and dental injuries are very common.

12-18 years

By 12-13 years of age, all of the baby teeth are usually gone, and all of the permanent “adult” teeth are in except for the 3rd molars (wisdom teeth), which most often arrive by age 21. As teens grow more independent and have further control of their diet and habits, it is common to see an increase in cavities. Soda, candy and a lack of consistent or effective brushing and flossing is typically the culprit. Self –awareness also becomes more prominent and your teen may notice if they have discolored teeth or crooked teeth. Talk with our team regarding options for both braces and whitening.

Additionally, we take a panoramic X-ray of your child’s jaws to check the development of third molars, and when indicated will refer your child to an oral surgeon for removal. Be sure to let our office know if your child is experiencing pain from their wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, substance abuse may begin during this stage (90% of adult smokers began before age 19), so monitor your child for signs of alcohol or tobacco use. Finally, eating disorders are also common, and in addition to many other serious issues, can damage the teeth. Please talk with our office regarding assistance with any of these common issues of adolescence.

During these ages, children become more active with sports, and dental injuries are very common. Ask our team about mouth guards to protect your child’s teeth during sports.

FEATURED SERVICES

SPECIAL NEEDS CARE

If your child has special health care needs, feel great knowing his/her dental needs are not necessarily any different than those of any other child.

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