Start right, help kids brush

by Senior Airman Jessica Slatt 86th Dental Squadron

Photo by Monkey Business Images/

Regular brushing of teeth is essential in good dental hygiene and should start early in your child’s life. Although helping kids brush twice a day for two minutes can be tough, it is important as this habit can benefit their dental health for a lifetime.

So starting right away and being consistent is the best way to make it a habit.

There are many supportive aids such as videos, games and apps to make brushing fun for children. Another helpful tip is to allow the child to pick out their own fluoridated toothpaste and toothbrush.

Cavities can occur as soon as teeth come through the gums so be sure to start brushing as soon as you see them. For some babies, it can be as early as six months old, while other babies may not have a tooth until 12 months.

For children under three years old, use a rice-size smear of fluoridated toothpaste. For children older than three, a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste will suffice. Be sure to brush all surfaces of the tooth, and if a child has teeth that touch, it is time to bring flossing into the daily routine.

Even though children may want to brush their own teeth at a young age, parents should continue to help until children are at least 8 years old or until you would trust them to brush your teeth.

According to the American Dental Association, a child’s first dental visit should be within six months of the eruption of their first tooth. At the first dental visit, the dentist will check the growth and development of your child’s mouth and teeth, discuss nutrition and oral hygiene tips and, of course, answer any questions you may have.

Do not wait for an emergency to take your child to their first visit, as your child will be apprehensive and uncomfortable. It is also important your child becomes familiar with the dental office and comfortable with dental exams, so try to build their excitement prior to the appointment.

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment for your child, call the 86th Dental Squadron at 479-2210 or 06371-46-2210.