Thank you to Dr Grace Yum and Firefly for these tips for brushing teeth and oral health before school starts back in the fall.
For many, August means the start of school and back into routines and busy schedules.
While we all know routines are important and many children thrive on routine, it’s also key for success during the school year.
Back to Success Starts in the Bathroom
Having a set schedule about when your children brush their teeth helps them know and understand expectations. It gives them stability, allowing them to know what to expect with no surprises. As parents, we want oral health to become second nature like hand washing after going potty.
Did you know cavities are considered a diseased state? They are!
Children with poor oral health status are nearly 3 times more likely than were their counterparts to miss school as a result of dental pain.
As parents, we can help turn this around.
How Often Should Children Brush Their Teeth?
After breakfast and before school as well as before bedtime is the perfect times for children to brush their teeth. For toddlers, naptime is also encouraged.
One great tip Dr. Grace Yum gave was to keep a set of toothbrushes in a bathroom near the door or in the kitchen. That way there is no excuse to not get food off teeth before walking out the door for school or work.
Tips for Brushing Teeth for Toddlers
While the child is in the highchair, grab their toothbrush and toothpaste so they are contained and won’t try to run away. Since they can’t swish and spit at this age, brushing their teeth with mouthwash is also recommended.
Tips for Children Who are Scared of the Dentist from Dr Grace Yum
Many children are scared of visiting the dentist. It could be:
- Leaning back in a chair and reclining makes them feel vulnerable and unsure.
- Being in a new place with new people and lots of instruments that look sharp and dangerous can be unnerving as a child.
- Having a bright light shining in your eyes can be disorienting.
- A stranger invading your personal space and sticking their hands in your mouth isn’t fun for anyone.
- The tastes and sounds can also be unpleasant and scary.
Dr. Yum had great tips to help remove the apprehension some children may experience before their first dental visit.
1. Read a book together about going to the Dentist.
Growing up, I loved reading The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist before my dental appointments. I also loved getting treasures out of the giant pig treasure chest.
2. Who is your Dentist?
Consider a Pediatric Dentist.
Pediatric Dentists typically go to school for 2-3 years longer than a regular Dentist. During this time they learn more about how to treat what goes on in the mouths of children.
Book a Tour.
Before the actual dental visit, book a tour of the office so the child can see what the office looks like and meet the staff. This takes away some of the newnesses which can be scary.
Check the website for videos.
Some dental offices have videos on their websites that give tours of the office and to meet the dental staff.
3. Do not threaten your child.
Please do not talk about using the drill or shots as a way to get your child to comply. It will do the opposite.
4. Use an electric toothbrush at home.
Using an electric toothbrush at home will help the child not get scared about new feelings and vibrations in their mouth when the dentist starts to clean their teeth.
The vibrations are similar so that will be one less thing to frighten your child.
Firefly toothbrushes are perfect because they use characters your child is familiar with and knows.
Teeth Grinding in Children What You Should Know
If you have a child who grinds their teeth at night, please consult a pediatric dentist to see why they are grinding their teeth.
While most adults grind their teeth due to stress, children commonly grind their teeth because of a compromised airway.
This greatly affects their REM Sleep, which is needed for the body to restore itself.
How Do I Know If My Child Has Sleep Apnea or a Compromised Airway?
Is your child grinding their teeth at night?
Are they a mouth breather when they sleep?
When your child is awake, are they high energy?
Do you get notes from the school saying that your child is distracted when in the classroom?
Did they suck their thumb as a child?
Are they sucking their thumb as a tween or teen?
Do they always sound like they have a stuffy nose even when they don’t?
If you said yes to any of these questions, please contact a local pediatric dentist for a consult to get to the root of why these things are happening.
It could be as simple as needing to have tonsils or adenoids removed, expanding the roof of their mouth with a spacer, or treating sleep apnea.
Who Is Dr Grace Yum?
Dr. Grace Yum is a mother and a certified pediatric dentist, a certification achieved by only 5% of all dentists in the U.S. Dr. Yum is the former founder and practice owner of Yummy Dental & Orthodontics for Kids in Chicago and she is also the founder and CEO of Mommy Dentists in Business, podcaster, and Mompreneur.
Nationally recognized in her field, Dr. Yum has appeared and was featured on TODAY Show on NBC nationally, NBC Chicago as a repeat guest, Parents Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Chicago Parent Magazine. She has also appeared on many podcasts, with topics covering dentistry, work/life balance, and business tips for the working mom.
Firefly is a national leader in kids oral care, representing the #1 kids’ toothbrush brand in America and lays claim to the patented Light-Up Timer Toothbrush.
From toothbrushes with sound effects and light-up magic to mouth rinses with 3D characters, Firefly products are built with your child in mind to guide kids to self-care through good, clean fun.