Once your baby's first teeth start to come in, it's time to begin brushing their teeth. As a parent, it's important to teach young children the correct brushing technique to help guarantee strong permanent teeth in the future.
Along with making dental care a part of your child's daily routine, you'll need to select a toothpaste for children. With so many options on the market, it can be hard to determine what's best. Learning more about fluoride-free toothpaste can help you make an informed decision for your family.
Getting Just the Right Amount of Fluoride
Fluoride is a compound that helps children and adults prevent tooth decay and strengthen their enamel. Many toothpastes contain fluoride, and fluoride is often incorporated in drinking water. However, too much fluoride isn't necessarily a good thing. According to Stanford Children's Health, if children ingest too much fluoride, they can develop a condition called fluorosis, in which the overuse of fluoride has actually resulted in enamel damage rather than protection.
Adults aren't at risk of fluorosis (it only affects developing teeth), and they can control their fluoride consumption by spitting out their toothpaste. However, young children may not have the motor skills to spit out toothpaste after brushing their teeth. Some kids may even like the taste and be compelled to swallow it like candy. In these cases, parents can consider fluoride-free toothpaste.
Choosing a Fluoride-Free Toothpaste for Kids
You want your child's toothpaste to effectively clean their teeth, not to end up in their tummy. A safe toothpaste made with naturally derived ingredients can bolster your confidence that your child is getting the oral care they need.
Tom's of Maine's Silly Strawberry Fluoride-Free Children's Toothpaste uses calcium and silica to gently clean, and the delicious real fruit flavor appeals to your child's taste. Choosing products made with ingredients sourced from the Earth means that you can rest assured knowing the product is safe for your little one. Plus, it helps you establish an environmentally friendly bathroom. Be sure to also check in with your child's dental professional to hear their recommendations for your child's health.
Teaching Children How to Brush
Once you have a trusted toothpaste in hand, you can begin teaching your child how to brush properly. Here are a few teaching tips that make the task fun.
Let your child pick out a toothbrush in their favorite color, making sure it has a small head and very soft bristles. Place a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on the brush and press it into the bristles. Demonstrate how to make little circles on the teeth and gums with the brush. Let your child look at their reflection in the mirror while they brush. Being able to see their technique will help them do a good job. Make back-and-forth strokes on the flat biting surfaces in back.
Tell your child it's like brushing on a race track—they have to complete the circuit around the entire course! Their brushing will not be perfect, but you are training your child for a lifetime of dental hygiene that will ensure a beautiful smile as they grow. Always praise your child for their efforts and then check their mouth for any missed areas. Go back and clean these spaces yourself. Brushing teeth might be a two-person job for a while, and that's okay!
Aim for two-minute brushing sessions twice a day. Use a timer or sing one of your child's favorite songs while they brush. Tell them to continue the brushing strokes until you finish singing. You can even create a tooth-brushing chart and place a sticker on it each time your child brushes. A child's world is visual, so seeing their progress will encourage them to stick to the schedule.
What are your favorite techniques for teaching your child how to brush? What toothpaste for kids do you like to use? Tell us on Twitter!
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Why It's Good
A lifetime of bright, healthy, and happy smiles begins when you establish an oral care routine for your child. Fluoride-free toothpaste made with naturally derived ingredients can help you rest assured that your child is getting the care they need safely and effectively.