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Why Do Kids Struggle With Brushing Habits?


It’s no secret that children often struggle with getting all of the plaque off of their teeth each day. And since plaque leads to cavities and gum disease, a thorough brushing routine is important to have each day. But there are a couple of barriers that may be getting in the way of your child’s oral health.

Dexterity

Until your child can tie their own shoes easily, they really lack the dexterity needed to thoroughly brush or floss their teeth. As a parent, you want to encourage your child’s independence by having them practice brushing on their own. But until they’re a little older, be sure to follow up behind them to make sure all of the plaque is getting cleaned off.

Technique and Visibility

One thing that is very interesting about brushing your teeth is that the toothpaste that we use to help us can sometimes cause a problem with visibility. After a good brushing, our mouth is pretty sudsy. If you look at your teeth after brushing, the suds actually obscure our ability to see if we got everything. It may be useful to brush well with toothpaste and then rinse the brush off with water and brush again. After the water only brushing, it is very smart to look in the mirror and look for food bits and plaque that may be left behind. Going around with floss or a micro tooth brush (proxy brush) to collect and wash away the missed bits is a great way to master oral hygiene.

A Sensitive Gag Reflex or Sensory Issues

Some children are especially sensitive to having things in their mouth. Particularly a toothbrush. With practice, this should get a little easier! Especially since teeth further back in the mouth erupt after your child gets a little older.

If sensory issues are a concern, it may be best to experiment with different shapes of toothbrushes or stay away from electronic models that may provide too much stimulation.

Why Does it Matter if Their Teeth Are Going to Fall Out Anyway?

Premature tooth loss can lead to long-lasting complications to your child’s developing, permanent teeth. Early tooth cavities can make for difficult dental appointments for our little ones. Additionally, it can cause our children pain to have cavities if they get big enough. And, worse, if a baby tooth is lost early, our children can lose critical space the baby tooth is reserving for its corresponding adult tooth down the road. Tooth loss can also create spaces in the mouth that make speech development more of a challenge. It’s important to practice good oral hygiene from day one and to continue throughout childhood to be sure our children have successful and predictable oral and dental development.

Schedule a Checkup for Your Child Every Six Months

The team at Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontic Specialists of Michigan provide families with age-appropriate pediatric dental care tips. That way we can encourage your child to clean their smile a little better every day. And we’ll give parents and caregivers advice on how to help their little ones keep their smiles clean between dental checkups.

Plan your child’s visit every six months beginning around their first birthday or the eruption of their first tooth. Call us today to schedule!

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