Begin daily brushing as soon as the child’s first tooth erupts. A tiny pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used after the child is old enough not to swallow it. By age 4 or 5, children should be able to brush their own teeth twice a day with supervision. However, each child is different. Your dentist can help you determine whether the child has the skill level to brush properly.Proper brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer and chewing surfaces. When teaching children to brush, place toothbrush at a 45 degree angle. Start brushing along the gum line with a soft bristle brush in a gentle circular motion. Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower. Repeat the same method on the inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all the teeth. Finish by brushing the tongue to help freshen breath and remove bacteria. Establishing a specific routine (brushing the teeth in a certain order) will help ensure that the child does not miss any areas.
Flossing removes plaque between the teeth where a toothbrush can’t reach. Flossing should begin when any two teeth touch. You should floss the child’s teeth until he or she can do it alone. Use about 18 inches of floss, winding most of it around the middle fingers of both hands. Hold the floss lightly between the thumbs and forefingers. Use a gentle, back-and-forth motion to guide the floss between the teeth. Curve the floss into a C-shape and slide it into the space between the gum and tooth until you feel resistance. Gently scrape the floss against the side of the tooth. Repeat this procedure on each tooth. Don’t forget the backs of the last four teeth. Floss picks can be substituted if you wish.
Clean the area of the affected tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge impacted food or debris. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If the face is swollen, apply cold compresses. Take the child to a dentist.
Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek:
Apply ice to bruised areas. If there is bleeding apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take child to hospital emergency room.
Knocked Out Permanent Tooth:
Find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown, not the root portion. You may rinse the tooth, but DO NOT clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Make sure the sink drain is plugged before rinsing it in the sink! Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk. The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth. In the case of a baby tooth being knocked out, it will not be reinserted into the socket.