Hygiene for Children

Children’s teeth should be cleaned as soon as they emerge. By starting early, your child gets used to a daily routine. A soft washcloth wrapped around your finger can substitute for a brush when teeth first appear.

Points to Consider

  • Choose a small, child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • We recommend using only plain tap water or "infant toothpaste" for brushing up to the age of two so that your child does not ingest the regular toothpaste.  After the age of two, a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste may be used.
  • Brush your child's teeth twice a day – in the morning and just before bed. Spend 2 minutes brushing.
  • Replace the toothbrush every 3 or 4 months, or sooner if it shows signs of wear. Never share toothbrushes between children.
  • Start flossing your child's teeth once a day as soon as multiple teeth emerge.
  • Fluoride is given every 6 months to strengthen teeth and help prevent cavities.
  • Ask us about dental sealants. Sealants are thin plastic protective barriers that fill in the chewing surfaces of the teeth, helping to reduce the incidence of tooth decay.

When Should Children Brush and Floss on Their Own?

Most children lack the coordination to brush or floss their teeth on their own until about the age of 6 or 7. Up until this time, remember that the best way to teach a child how to brush their teeth is to lead by example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene.

Does It Matter What Toothpaste My Child Uses?

Many children's toothpastes are flavored with child-pleasing tastes to further encourage brushing. Select your child's favorite. We recommend using a toothpaste which carries the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance. Finally, read the manufacturer's label, some toothpastes are not recommended for children under a certain age.

When Should My Child Start Seeing a Dentist?

We generally recommend a child is seen for an initial exam by the age of two or three.  The first few visits will be geared more toward creating a fun and secure environment for the child rather than actually cleanings.  Parents and dentists each play an important role in making the first dental experience a positive experience.

Parent's Role

To help your child’s visit go more smoothly:

  • Talk with your child about the visits, and answer any questions with simple, to-the-point answers. As dental professionals we are trained to help describe procedures in a positive and non-threatening manner.
  • Emphasize to your child how important it is to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
  • Do not use words like:  Shot, needle, drill, etc. around your child as these can create a phobia.

Why is it Important to Care for Baby Teeth?                                                                  

While it is true that primary teeth are only in the mouth a short period of time, they play a vital role:

  • They reserve space for their permanent counterparts.
  • They give the face its normal appearance.
  • They aid in the development of clear speech.
  • They help attain good nutrition (missing or decayed teeth make it difficult to chew causing children to reject foods).
  • They help give a healthy start to the permanent teeth (decay or infection in baby teeth can adversely affect the development of permanent teeth).

Drs. Limbaugh and Stephenson are dentists providing dental procedures such as cleanings, fillings, crowns, teeth whitening, dental implants, and porcelain veneers in Huntsville.
Dr. Limbaugh and Dr. Stephenson are licensed as general dentists in the State of Alabama.