a kid learning about oral hygiene

Oral Hygiene for Kids

When it comes to oral hygiene, you want to start your kid out early so that they have plenty of time to develop good habits that will last a lifetime. However, keeping children’s teeth healthy is a bit different than what you do to keep yours pearly white as a parent. Here is a look at some things to consider when choosing dental products for your kid.

Kids and Toothpaste

Kids and toothpaste may not seem like they’re two things that go together naturally, but it’s actually not as hard as you think to get them excited about brushing their teeth. Most toothpaste brands offer kid-friendly versions in flavors that appeal to a younger audience, but don’t fear—just because they’re tasty doesn’t mean they’re not effective. Choose a brand that contains fluoride, and always supervise the brushing process to ensure your child doesn’t swallow the toothpaste. Even though fluoride is perfectly safe for brushing, ingesting large amounts can pose health risks.

Kids’ Toothbrushes

Like toothpaste, there are a number of fun kids’ toothbrushes available that make the brushing process enjoyable for them. However, kids’ toothbrushes aren’t just about cartoon characters and superheroes—they’re also designed with softer bristles, which are gentler on their gums and developing teeth. For best results, brush twice a day and replace your kid’s toothbrush at least every three months.

Kids and Floss

When it comes to kids and floss, earlier is better. Most experts recommend that children begin daily flossing between the ages of two and six—depending on when their teeth begin to move closer together. During the early stages you will probably have to play a big role in the flossing process, since your child probably won’t have the dexterity to do it on his or her own. However, if you’re persistent, your kid will be flossing like a pro in no time!

Kids and Mouthwash

Kids and mouthwash can be a tricky subject. As with toothpaste, you don’t want your child to swallow any of the mouthwash, so you’ll need to use your judgment as to whether or not he or she can understand that concept. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid fluoridated mouthwash for children younger than 6, since it can have an unsightly (but otherwise harmless) effect on the appearance of your kid's teeth. When it is time for your kid and mouthwash to meet, choose a brand that is alcohol-free, and always supervise the process.

Fluoride Concerns

As a parent, it’s natural for you to have fluoride concerns. There are lots of people in the world arguing that this substance is dangerous, and you don’t want to expose your child to anything that could be potentially harmful. Thankfully, while this advice to avoid fluoride may be sincere, it’s not based in evidence or research. It’s true that exposure to high levels of it can pose health risks, but as long as you closely supervise their use of fluoridated products this shouldn’t ever be a problem. Additionally, despite its minor risks, fluoride has been responsible for a drop in cavity rates by over 40% since it was introduced!

Last Updated: February 23, 2017