American kids (and their parents) need to brush longer and more often. That may come as a surprise to some, not so much to others. With life getting seemingly more hectic by the minute, it can be easy enough to shave a few seconds off your daily oral care routine, but doing so can have lasting impacts on your oral health.
According to a recent independent survey by Delta Dental, about a third of children in the United States don’t brush their teeth twice a day. And many of those who do brush regularly do so for less than the two minutes needed for good oral hygiene, as recommended by the American Dental Association. What’s more, kids aren’t the only ones who are neglecting their teeth. Another study found that most Americans only brush for around 31-60 seconds. That’s a big shortfall from the two minute mark.
Kids and their parents need to brush and floss regularly in order to stave off cavities, prevent gum disease, avoid future health problems, and dodge costly dental work. And while Dr. Watts, your friendly Overland Park dentist, may be the one who reminds you about the importance of good oral care, oral health starts at home. kids learn their oral care habits from their parents. That’s why it’s important for parents to brush and floss regularly themselves, and to make sure that your kids are brushing and flossing regularly and correctly.
Need a reminder on some best practices for brushing regularly? First off, you should brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Electric toothbrushes can be helpful, as they often have reminders that let you know when you’ve been brushing for two minutes. Two minutes may not seem like very long, but time yourself the next time you brush, and you might be surprised.
When showing your kids how to brush, have them start with their back teeth, and brush in little circles. Make sure they brush the gums as well as the teeth, and get the front, back, and top of each tooth. Some teeth can be harder to reach, so be sure that they’re getting to all of them, and brushing every surface of each tooth.
Regular flossing is just as important as brushing to a good oral care regimen. You should start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have two teeth that touch, and by the time they’re around seven years old, they should be flossing themselves, with your supervision. For best flossing results, use a gentle rubbing motion to work the floss between the teeth. Never snap it against the gums, as that not only hurts but can also damage gum health. Flossing should happen at least once a day, preferably at night before you go to bed.
Families that brush and floss together can help build good oral care habits for their kids, and reinforce those habits themselves. That, combined with regular visits to your Overland Park dentist, will mean happy, healthy smiles for everyone!
This article brought to you by Watts Family Dental in Overland Park, Kansas. Our friendly office specializes in preventative dental care for the whole family. To make an appointment, please call (913) 338-3384 or click here to fill out our online contact form.