When children are between the ages of six and fourteen, they have both baby and adult teeth in their mouths. Oral Hygiene can be a challenge at this stage, because loose and sore baby teeth are being replaced by larger adult teeth, and the newly erupted adult molars (back teeth) have lots of little grooves and crevices where food particles can hide.
Here are some helpful hints for taking care of adult teeth at this stage.
- Encourage your child to continue to brush at least twice a day, with one time being just before going to bed.
- Be sure your child’s teeth are free of tiny food particles, which can get caught in the grooves.
- Until he is about eight, you should help your child with brushing, because he or she might not yet have developed the correct skill set to brush properly. Even after he starts brushing on his own, be sure to check after each brushing, and go over the spots he may have missed.
- Use a soft nylon toothbrush with just a small, pea-size dab of toothpaste.
- Teach your child how to spit out foamy saliva, not to swallow it. If he can’t avoid swallowing, then avoid using fluoridated toothpaste.
- As soon as any two of your child’s teeth touch each other, floss in between them. Flossing removes food from between the teeth, where a toothbrush can’t reach, and helps prevent cavities. Help your child start with flossers or flossing aids, which are easier to use.
- Make regular visits to your family dentist or a pediatric dentist for regular checkups. The dentist may suggest additional fluoride treatments or sealants as preventive measures. (We will look at dental sealants in depth next time.)
Remember: It is important to keep newly erupted adult teeth free of harmful food particles!