Developing a Bedtime Oral Care Routine for Kids
Establishing good bedtime oral care routines early on is one of the most important things you can do for your children.
Instilling good habits in them at a young age ensures that they will carry them on into adulthood, and keep those shining smiles well into old age.
It’s also a good idea if you want to save on years of costly dental procedures, including the dreaded and expensive braces.
Don’t let your children suffer from preventable toothaches and the social stigma of crooked teeth. Get them started on a simple routine tonight and keep those pearly whites shining!
Brush Twice Daily
This is the big one. All the other tips are important, but if your kids aren’t brushing every day, then they won’t be flossing or rinsing every day either.
What does brushing prevent?
- Tooth decay
- Tartar buildup
- Plaque buildup (which leads to gingivitis and gum disease)
- Staining of the teeth
Bedtime Oral Care Routine Brushing Tips
1. Brush for two minutes at a time, twice daily.
Brush carefully, going over every surface of your teeth and mouth. Don’t brush any more than two minutes or you run the risk of overbrushing which can lead to sensitive teeth and receding gums.
2. The best times of day to brush are first thing in the morning (to clean all the bacteria that’s formed in your mouth overnight), and just before bed (to clean the bacteria that’s built up throughout the day).
Recent research shows that brushing after every meal may not be the best idea for your teeth.
Brushing after acidic foods or drinks may wear down the enamel of your teeth, making them more prone to cavities and infection.
3. Don’t neglect to brush your gums, tongue and the roof of your mouth.
Bacteria can build up on every surface of your mouth, so it’s important to clean thoroughly.
4. Brush in a tiny circular motion.
This is the most efficient way to thoroughly scrub your teeth and massage your gums.
Floss Once Daily
This tremendously important habit is too often overlooked even by those who brush regularly.
Flossing isn’t just good for clearing bits of food out of your teeth that can decay and form bacteria. It also massages the gums, making them stronger and preventing gum disease
Advanced gum disease affects more than 75 percent of Americans, and yet it’s entirely preventable by flossing once daily.
What does flossing prevent?
- Gum Disease
- Tooth decay
- Halitosis (Bad breath)
Bedtime Oral Care Routine Flossing Tips
1. Slide the floss gently up and down between your teeth.
Popping the floss between your teeth can cause it to cut your child’s sensitive gums which can lead to bleeding and infection.
Use a gentle back-and-forth motion to slide it in.
2. Curve the floss around the bottom of each tooth, so that the floss reaches under the gumline.
Floss is great for massaging the gums, which prevents gum disease, but it also reaches areas of bacteria and food particles that a brush can’t.
The main cause of gum disease is bacteria that builds up between the base of the teeth and the gums. Regular flossing and professional cleanings are the only solutions to this hidden bacteria.
3. Don’t “pop” the floss out of each tooth to remove it, use the gentle back-and-forth movement to slide it out.
Jerking the floss out from between your teeth can pull on each tooth, causing it to shift in the gums.
This isn’t likely to show any issues in one use, but letting your kids pick up the bad habit early will lead to crooked teeth and braces down the line.
If the teeth are very close together and you can’t remove the floss without “popping” it, gently thread the floss through the gap to remove it.
Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash to clean out any leftover food particles, prevent plaque and cavities, and leave your breath smelling fresh!
Benefits of Using Mouthwash
1. Prevents bad breath
Kill bacteria that causes bad breath by rinsing at once to twice daily with mouthwash. And it comes in a variety of flavors that will leave you feeling minty fresh!
2. Prevents future Plaque buildup.
Most mouthwashes are chemically designed to prevent future buildup of plaque on your teeth, especially when used regularly.
However, mouthwash does not remove plaque that has already formed on your teeth, so brushing and flossing are still essential.
3. Removes leftover particles
Brushing and flossing do a lot to dislodge and remove food particles from your teeth, but if you don’t rinse, you could be leaving those tiny food particles sitting in your mouth to decay over time. Gross!
4. Prevents cavities
Because it’s a liquid, mouthwash can get into curves and crevices in your teeth that even floss can’t reach.This is typically where cavities form
This is typically where cavities form, so using mouthwash one to twice daily can save you a mouthful of fillings in the future.
Mouthwash Bedtime Oral Care Routine Tips
1. Swish the mouthwash around for 30 seconds before spitting.
This gives the mouthwash enough time to clear out any stubborn food particles and kill nearly all of the leftover bacteria in your mouth.
2. Use an alcohol-free mouthwash.
Some find that alcohol-based mouthwashes can cause dry mouth. And if you’ve just brushed and flossed, it can be incredibly painful.
Most children do better with a more painless option, and alcohol-free mouthwash is just as effective at killing bacteria and leaving your mouth feeling clean.
Telling your kids to brush, floss, and rinse every night before bed is easy enough, but you can’t stand over their shoulder every night to make sure they do it.
If they see their oral hygiene is a chore, then they’ll think of it as something they try to avoid.
But if you educate them on why what they’re doing is so important, they’re more likely to want to do it for themselves and less likely to stop when they become adults.
Make it Fun!
We have developed brushing charts and games that you can download to make brushing more fun.
Try brushing alongside them and turn it into a game or a song!
If your kids are having fun taking care of their teeth, then they’ll want to do it every night!
We have a tendency to take our teeth for granted, but bad oral hygiene can lead to serious health problems.
Start teaching good habits in your home, but don’t forget to schedule regular hygienist appointments as well.
Don’t let your kids fall into the habit of poor oral hygiene!
Take action and start your kids on a routine tonight!