What do you tell parents to do to brush small children’s teeth?
Yes, you definitely want to make sure that children are having their teeth brushed. Toddlers get to the point where they get a little bit more headstrong. I always say parents need to brush small children’s teeth first for each attempt. That way, during the time period, parents get to get in there for a couple minutes, get the teeth brushed, and then let the kids do it. You may have to work with your kids. You may need to have two toothbrushes, one for your child to hold and one for you to hold.
The most important time to brush small children’s teeth is at night right before bed. Sometimes I say, if that’s the only time that you can do it, make sure that the parents do it at night and the kids do it in the morning. I’m also a big, big fan of having kids lay in parents’ laps to do it. This is especially important when starting flossing as soon as the teeth start touching. The easiest way is to either sit on the bathroom floor or sit on the bed and do it. Having the child in their parent’s lap makes it a little bit easier to have it done and be able to see what’s going on.
How much toothpaste should the parent use?
Up until the point that a child can spit, you should use fluoridated children’s the size of a grain of rice. After a child can spit, they should use the size of an English pea. Then switch to an adult toothpaste that has a little bit more fluoride usually around the age of 10 to 12, when they can stand to have a minty flavor and not the bubblegum or the fruit flavor.