The importance of dental health is well-known. Brushing your teeth, having good breath and preventing cavities are part of everyday1 life, regardless of your age. Even in infants, dental health is paramount from the emergence of the very first tooth.
According to Statistics Canada, only 37.5% of Canadians brush their teeth twice daily and according to Health Canada, children aged 6 to 19 have an average of 2.5 cavities2. It seems useful and even essential to provide some information about dental hygiene for all members of the family and offer some tips and advice to simplify things.
Dental care is for the entire family
Although visiting the dentist is recommended once a year, you should also be taking the necessary steps at home to ensure everyone’s teeth remain healthy. The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day.3
From birth, a baby's mouth must be kept clean and protected from external bacteria. Adopting good behaviours very early on promote healthy teeth. Even before the first tooth appears, it may be a good idea to wipe your baby’s mouth and gums with a clean, damp cloth after drinking.
Then, around 6 months of age, when the first tooth appears, you can gently clean it with a soft-bristled brush, using a tiny amount of toothpaste.
At around 3 years of age, the recommended amount of toothpaste is comparable to the size of a pea and parents must still do the brushing. Afterwards, when the children gain experience and autonomy, the parents will supervise the brushing. A little later on, your child will only have to be reminded to ensure the routine remains intact! To make your child’s transition to autonomy easier and more enjoyable, it is recommended to use the "I’ll start, you’ll finish" technique, or the other way around. It is then done as a team and it enables you to validate whether or not your child is ready to brush their teeth alone.
Choosing the RIGHT toothbrush
Choosing the right toothbrush is important in order to obtain good results and keep the desire alive to brush the teeth. The size and shape of the toothbrush must allow it to reach all of the teeth, whether it is electric or not.
Did you know? A worn brush no longer cleans effectively and can even damage teeth and gums. To avoid this, it is recommended to replace it every three or four months, or even after an infection, such as a cold or the flu.
Toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss
Toothpaste not only helps the toothbrush work, but it also makes teeth more acid-resistant and helps remineralize their enamel with fluoride. Toothpaste prevents the growth of bacteria causing dental plaque, cavities and gum disease. The use of fluoride toothpaste is preferred, and you should seek the Canadian Dental Association’s seal on the box to be sure.
For children, the use of fluoride toothpaste is preferred. You must also teach your child not to swallow it!
Mouthwash, when recognized by the Canadian Dental Association, complements dental flossing and brushing by decreasing the amount of bacteria in your mouth. Mouthwash is complementary to brushing—but it doesn’t replace it!
Did you know? Used daily before brushing, dental floss helps to clean your teeth well in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. It also helps remove dental plaque which, when hardened, forms tartar that causes certain gum diseases. Failure to floss also means you’re not cleaning 1/3 of the surface of your teeth.
Your diet’s influence on dental health
Brushing your teeth is the key. What we eat and drink is also part of the equation. For example, a healthy diet and good hydration are a priority, while a high consumption of acidic drinks and sweets should be avoided.
A few quick tips to simplify the dental hygiene routine
- If your child is curious and seems less willing to participate, it may be interesting for them to brush their tooth or teeth in front of a mirror.
- It is important that tooth brushing is seen as a positive and enjoyable activity. Try to instill these steps quickly into the morning and evening routine.
- Kids love videos, so watch some video clips about tooth brushing. Introducing some videos about dental hygiene, tooth decay and tooth brushing can be very relevant to present them with important information with sound and images. Sometimes things go better when it's not the parents who explain it!😊 Here are some suggestions:
Video only in french
- Involve your children when buying toothbrush and toothpaste, as sometimes the characters from SpongeBob Square Pants or Disney can be a great help! It's not uncommon for children to ask for a surprise during a visit to the pharmacy, so that’s a great time to get a new toothbrush! The power of choice often works miracles! This creates a positive moment related to dental hygiene while making a practical purchase!
- Brush your teeth as a family and use a timer to meet the recommended brushing time of 2 to 3 minutes.4
If you have any doubts or questions, you can consult your dentist or seek advice from a health professional at a Familiprix branch in order to have the answers to your questions and the right product suggestions according to your needs.