skip to Main Content

Oral Hygiene of Children

When do we start brushing at children?

Ever since the first primary teeth appear in the mouth (6-8 months) the cleaning has to start. ıt will  be appropriate to clean at least the chewing surfaces of the teeth with a slightly moisterized gauze twice a day one after the breakfast and one before going to sleep.To start using toothbrush the primary molars have to be awaited (approximately 2.5-3 years of age).

For preschool children it is almost impossible to carry out the proper brushing tecnique. It is important that at that age the child gets the habbit to brush.Mostly children brush the easily seen and accessible surfaces of their teeth that is why it is recommended to the parents to keep an eye on the child.

What kind of toothbrush do we have to use?

Toothbrushes that are proper in size ,soft and with bristles made of synthetic material is supposed to be used.Because of the abrasive characteristics hard bristle brushes shouldn’t be used.tooth brushes have to be changed every 6 months because they loose their original properties.

Which dentifrice should we use and how much?

Starting from the early babyhood it is not recommended to use dentifrice till 3 years of age.Contrary to the commercials a tiny little amount of dentifrice is enough for proper brushing.From the start on dentifrices containing flouride are to be used.It is important that the child likes the taste tokeep ob using it.One thing we always have to remember is that brushing tecnique itself is far more important than the dentifrice.

How often is the child supposed to brush?

Twice a day one after the breakfast and one before going to sleep to brush with the proper technique for almost 3 minutes each time is enough.As with every good habbit brushing should also be acquiered in the early childhood.

Tooth brushing instructions

One of the major complaints of the parents is that their child doesn’t brush regularly and properly. The  best way to insure that brushing habbit is well established is to start from the very early ages to brush properly. What we can recommend as professionals to parents  is to start cleaning the teeth as soon as they erupt.from the moment the first milk tooth erupts you can eather use a clean gauze or a soft brittle toothbrush to clean out teeth.At the beginning the attempts will  fail but within time tyou will see that it will settle. especially the brushing you do during teet eruption wiil give a massage to gum tissue and will eleminate thethe sores  of the eruption to some extent and let the child relax a liitle. Of course to visit a dentist right after primary teeth erupt and let him examine the course will be appropriate to avoid oral problems.

How can my chid acquire toothbrushing habbits?

One of the most frequent concerns of the parents is about using a dentifrice. Generally babies and children like the taste of the dentifrice and they swallow it .Because of that it will be more appropriate not to use dentifrice while toothbrushing until the child reaches 2.5-3 years of age. But of course you can not generalize it thats why itis wiser to consult your pedodontist.

Advices to acquire toothbrushing habbit for babies and children

  • When he brushes you join him and brush your teeth.
  • To motivate him go and buy him different colored toothbrushes or may be toothbrushes with cartoon characters. and let him choose every time one of them.
  • Make a toothbrushing board and after every brushing go and mark it.
  • Let him brush his teeth later you brush his while he brushes your teeth.
  • Put an hourglass in the bathroom and count the time everytime. 2 minutes of brushing will be enough
  • Do not forget that your child does not have the  least idea of what caries is. Let him eat any candy, bisquit or chocolate and show him how it gets stick to the teeth and then let him brush and show this time how clean and beautiful his teeth look..

Above all these it is advisible that you visit a dentist after generally 6-9 months when the first primary tooth erupts and get detailed instructions about oral hygiene. And in later periodic control visits the motivation of your child will go up not only by the dentists attempts to show him how to brush properly but at the same time by seeing other kids brushing their teeth as well. we have to bear in mind that regular tooth brushing will be preventing future teeth problems.

Oral and dental problems at children

1) Bruxing
  • Causes
          Stressfull,shy obssessive agressive personalities and kids whose parents  are brusers themselves are more vulnerable to bruxing
  • Symptoms

Abrasions at teeth,the grinding noise that is heart especially during sleep,oral muscles spasms,tmj problems,headache,tooth mobility and


  • Treatment

First of all  psycological factors are tied to be eleminated. If not succeded  a night guard is fabricated for the patient.

2) Thumbsucking:

  • Causes:
    Thumbsucking is a habbit which is often seen at childhood. Generally children quit that habbit when they reach 4 years.The fact that the habbit continues while the permanent teeth erupt causes palatal deformities and malpositioning of the teeth which is the cause of of the pressure applied to front teeth and palate. The severity of the deformity depends on the frequency,force and the position of the thumb while sucking.
  • Treatment:
    The best way to make a thumbsucker to quit is to convert him to pacifiers.Not only are the pacifiers  less harmfull but they can more easily be quitted.
    The right timing for the treatment is very important.Unless the child is ready to quit the treatment can not succed. Psycologically it is better to make the child quit  bedfore schooltime to prevent any humiliation or mocking.The child has to be encouraged and positively directed by being awarded. If despite everything the child can not quit his habbit till 6 a professional help is required.

3) Nailbiting:

Nailbiting  doesn’t start before 3-4 years of age. Almost 1/3 of the children have this habbit. When puberty is reached  the ratio goes up to %40-45 which makes almost half of the children. Generally the lack of acceptance among the society is counted as one of the major reasons. Interestingly those who bite nails have relatives in their families who have the same habbit. Some claim that it is as a result of mimicking  and acquired from mimicking parents. Those who are socially accepted in the puberty can quit more easily this habbit.

What can be done to prevent it?

  • The most effective method is to ignore it until 3-4 years of age but in case it persists the tensions and adaptive problems of the child have to be thogoughly investigated and later on solutions have to be found.
  • Most of the time to scare ,to punish or to reprove the child doesn’t pay off. Sometimes the emotional poblems may get even worse.
  • It is important to retain the children from situations that may arouse concern or  fear.
  • It is absoloutaly not appropriate to let children watch movies of horror  or films that may concern them and it is not right that they are in the middle of fights that may overexcite them.
  • It may be helpful to wear the child his old gloves to remind him of his habbit when he attempts.
  • Sometimes to apply nail polish like solutions  to fingers may alo help. This will help in two separate ways.One by reminding him and secondly by the untasteful flavor that may provoke for quitting.
  • Childrens attention can be directed somewhere else.For instance while watching tv listening to music to give him something to chew may help since the need to bite the nails will be replaced by other things.
  • Sometimes to award kids with some presents on behalf of their achievments may be helpfull as well but it should be used appropriatelly and limitedly since it can be misused by the child to get new presents.
  • The nails can but cut more deeply and the involvement of the child in  his own nailcare should also be considered as an option. For that manicure and pedicure material can be bought.

4) Pacifiers

The sucking is the most natural way to make the child feel safe and comfortable.If the child tends to thumbsucking  immeadetely he has to be converted to use pacifiers. Because the pacifiers are not only less harmful but at the same time they can be more easily abandoned  as well. pacifiers should not be given to the child all day long but only when it is necessary. To avoid structural deformities anatomically designed pacifiers are to be used  which mimick nature.Everyday the pacifiers have to be contolled if they are in tact and the size has to be chosen appropriatelly..

5) Baby bootle decay

What is the cause of the decay of my babies primary teeth as soon as they erupt?

Sometimes as soon as the baby teeth erupt dark brown stains are seen on the teeth or the teeth may brake .Actually these stains are signs of decay and the tooth may breake because of the decay. And often this is the result  of the so called babybottle decays. In its most natural form the maternal milk and the cowmilk as well contain sugar. If before bed or during asleep the baby sucks the milk residuals that are left in the mouth provide a good enviroment for the microorganisms to produce caries.For that reason the cleaning of the teeth after sucking has to be kept in mind.

What can be done to avoid babybottle caries?

Since the treatment of the decays at children are difficult to treat preventive meassure have to be taken.

These are:

  • Do not let your baby go asleep with the baby bootle in the mouth.
  • Try to put him asleep after feeding.
  • Do not add sugar,honey or any sweetener like molasses to milk
  • After feeding let him drink water.
  • After first teeth erupt do not forget to take care of the cleaning after breakfast and supper with a clean,wet gauze.

If let untreated  the babybottle decays get worse and the child starts feeling pain ,they may even get inflamated.The painful and inflamated teeth give discomfort and effects the nutrition.. The inflamation may also effect the underlying permanent teeth and cause some shape deformities.If those teeth neded to be exracted then speech problems may be seen.

Although he did not use baby bottle  why have my baby decayed teeth?

Another reason for caries progression is to give babybottles ,apart from pacifiers,  submerged into sugar ,honey,jam or molasses to babies.Beside this for distraction purposes the carbohydrates or sugar containing  nutrition should be avoided after permanent teeth eruption.Contrary to that the child has to be directed towards foods with higher nutrition values such as  apple or carrot which also help for mechanical cleaning as well.

Back To Top