Little girl just finished brushing her teeth

Brush, Floss, Smile! Why is oral hygiene so important?

Happy National Children’s Dental Health Month, parents and kids! The ADA has named this year’s theme “Brush, Floss, Smile!” in honor of building a strong oral hygiene routine for your child. 

So parents, give yourselves a pat on the back for helping your child develop healthy oral hygiene habits. We know it isn’t always easy, but we like to think that seeing your child’s bright, healthy smile is worth it. 

Every February is a great time for dentists, parents, and kids to come together and learn simple techniques to care for your teeth and gums. So let’s talk about why oral hygiene (regular brushing and flossing) is so important for growing smiles.

Why is brushing kids teeth important?

Making sure your child’s teeth are brushed twice a day for 2 minutes each is incredibly important! Regular tooth brushing helps remove stubborn food debris and plaque-causing bacteria. And baby teeth just like adult teeth are susceptible to tooth decay. 

Why brush my kid’s teeth twice a day? Plaque is a sticky substance that forms when food particles come into contact with saliva. As your child eats and drinks throughout the day, plaque will accumulate build-up on their teeth and create acids that attack your child’s tooth enamel. Fighting plaque is a constant battle as your body requires 3 meals a day with snacks in between (not to mention if your child drinks milk, juice, or anything other than water as well). Plaque even forms while your child sleeps, this is when our mouths produce twice as much bacteria! But plaque can be easily removed with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. This is why it’s so important to brush twice a day! 

Depending on their age and capabilities, you may help brush your child’s teeth or supervise their brushing. Having a timer or their favorite song playing can help a lot of kids get excited about brushing their teeth. If you need some pro tips on the best tooth brushing techniques or how to make brushing fun, our Kids Smiles Team is here to help!

The importance of fluoride toothpaste

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), American Dental Association (ADA), and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), all recommend that your child begins using fluoride toothpaste at age 2.  This is because fluoride holds a number of powerful benefits for dental health! 

 Fluoride benefits include:

  • Remineralizes teeth: Fluoride treatment helps remineralize teeth by strengthening the building blocks in teeth and making them more resistant to mineral loss
  • Prevents cavities: Fluoride strengthens teeth to prevent decay and cavities and can even reverse smaller cavities. Low concentrations of fluoride are added to our drinking water in certain areas around the world, because studies have shown fluoride in drinking water to reduce cavities by 40% to 60%.
  • Preserves enamel: Over time, tooth enamel is damaged by bacterias that develop from acids in sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices, and acidic drinks like coffee. Fluoride can help preserve your enamel to slow the deterioration process and promote a strong barrier between food, drinks and the sensitive inner layers of your teeth. 

Is flossing even necessary?

Yes, flossing is absolutely necessary for children of all ages! Starting off using kid-friendly floss sticks at age 3 can help build a solid foundation for flossing for years to come. 

Flossing is an effective method for removing plaque from below the gumline and between teeth. It’s important to floss once a day because plaque can start to harden into tartar within 24 to 48 hours. Once plaque has calcified into tartar only a certified dental hygienist can remove it. 

Looking for the best beginner’s flossing tools or pro flossing tips? Check out more blog posts or talk with one of our pediatric dental experts when you visit us for your child’s regular dental check-up

Still have questions about the importance of oral hygiene for kids and teens?

Our experienced Kids Smiles Pediatric Dentistry team is here to help you and your child develop healthy habits that lead to a lifetime of beautiful smiles. We’re here to give you any oral hygiene tips you need!

Our team is led by renowned pediatric dentist, Dr. Frank Sierra, who has more than 25 years of experience providing compassionate, expert care for children and teens. 

We are your trusted pediatric dentist in Tampa Bay and Bradenton! Ready to schedule your first visit? Here’s what you can expect on your first visit. Schedule an appointment with us today!