How to Protect Your Kid’s Dental Hygiene All Year Long

Sponsored by the American Dental Hygiene Association, October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and we’re here to keep your family’s smiles bright this month! 

Oral hygiene is important all year long. But as your kids head back to school or daycare, it’s a great time to check in with our pediatric dentists at Children’s Choice to make sure your children have an effective routine for their oral health.

As your children grow, you can keep their smiles healthy by helping them practice some of these essential oral health tips every day, as well as coming in to see us for regular check-ins. 

What is Dental Hygiene? 

Keeping your child’s mouth healthy is a daily practice. With a strong dental hygiene practice, you can prevent future dental issues and emergencies down the road, such as cavities or gingivitis. 

That’s why we practice preventative care! We want your children to look and feel great every day — and that comes with learning how to care for their teeth at an early age.  

Dental hygiene includes proper brushing, flossing, and keeping gums healthy. It also means protecting their teeth with a mouth guard when playing sports, eating a healthy diet, and coming into Children’s Choice at least once a year for a hygiene checkup and cleaning.  

Why is Dental Hygiene Important for Kids? 

Good dental hygiene helps support your child’s overall health. When your child’s teeth are straight and their jaw aligned, they’ll have an easier time chewing, which will improve their digestive system.  

Healthy teeth can also improve their vision, as untreated bacteria buildup from cavities or gum infections can cause vision issues. Plus, a straight smile can boost their self-esteem in school and sports activities with peers.  

Just like anything else you teach your kids, helping your kids develop an oral routine takes practice. Our pediatric dental hygienists love teaching kids about the importance of taking care of their teeth, and we’re happy to provide the best education to keep your kids healthy.  

Here are some ways you can ensure your kids support their dental hygiene at home. 

How to Practice Good Oral Hygiene at Home 

It’s important to care for your child’s teeth early — even as early as 6 months old. Starting with wiping your baby’s gums after eating, your child should come in for their first visit to the pediatric dentist once their first tooth comes in. 

When you come to see us at Children’s Choice, we’ll always make sure they’re comfortable and relaxed for their first dental visit.  

You can help your kid’s teeth shine in between visits with regular brushing, flossing, following a tooth-healthy diet, and more.

1. Brush Twice a Day 

Kid’s aren’t always the best at brushing their own teeth for the first few years. Holding a toothbrush and operating it properly can be a challenge for young children, and they often require assistance from you. 

Children (and adults) should brush twice a day, once in the morning after breakfast and once at night before bed for at least 2 minutes each time. Regular brushing can prevent tooth decay, cavities, and eliminate plaque and bacteria from their mouth.  

For kids who don’t enjoy brushing, we recommend teaching them games and apps to make brushing their teeth entertaining and fun.

2. Floss Daily  

Flossing daily is a key to protecting your teeth and gums. Flossing can even protect your children from getting cavities or gum diseases 

While it can seem tedious at times, flossing is worth it for many aspects of your child’s oral health. As they grow and age, regular flossing can even decrease their risk of heart failure, as the bacteria in their mouth can migrate to other areas of their body if left untreated. 

If your kids need help flossing, there are also plenty of kid-friendly flossing tools to help them get between their teeth easier. And our dental hygienists are always happy to give your kids tips during their next visit.

3. Rinse with Mouthwash 

Rinsing with mouthwash is a step that can be forgotten easily, but is just as important for your child’s oral health.  

After they’ve brushed and flossed, make sure your kids rinse with alcohol-free mouthwash. Mouthwash can help eliminate any remaining bacteria, which can stick around on their tongue, gums, and teeth.  

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that children under 6 years old should not use mouthwash, as they haven’t fully developed their swallowing reflexes and could accidentally swallow mouthwash.  

For children old enough to use mouthwash, swishing around some mouthwash with fluoride can help protect their teeth against cavities. It can also clean up anything they may have left behind if they’re still working on their brushing and flossing skills.  

Chew Sugar-Free Gum 

We get asked this question at lot as children’s dentists, and yes, it’s OK to chew gum! We would recommend giving your child sugar-free gum, though, which is significantly better for their teeth.  

Chewing gum can even help get rid of food residue, and is also pretty fun for kids to chew.  

For your kids with braces, we’d recommend they chew gum sparingly, as the gum can stick to brackets and wires and make cleaning up a hassle.

4. Eat a Healthy Diet 

The old saying your parents taught you isn’t entirely false: You are what you eat!  

Choosing healthy foods that are good for your body (and teeth) can keep your kids feeling strong and protect them against common illnesses.  

Processed foods and high amounts of sugar can lead to diabetes, a weakened immune system, and cavities. Fill your child’s meals with foods that have vitamin C, like apples. Vitamin C helps keep your baby’s gums free of inflammation and fights plaque when your kids chew them. 

Learn more about the best foods to eat to keep your kid’s teeth healthy > 

Meet Our Incredible Dental Hygienists  

At Children’s Choice, our pediatric dentists, hygienists, and front desk staff are knowledgeable, friendly, and always ready to help you and your family! 

 Meet some of our outstanding dental hygienists from across the state and learn more about them below. 

Billie Pruitt – Practice Manager, RDA (Yuba City, CA) 

What got you started in the dental field?  

I have always loved going to the dentist, ever since I was a little girl. Early in my childhood, I knew I wanted to be a dental hygienist and still have thoughts of pursuing that, or an RDA.  

I decided to take my first step to test out the waters and become an RDA. Ever since then, I have loved working in the dental field. 

How long have you been in the dental field? 

I have been in the Dental field since October 2014, so just short of 7 years.  

What’s your favorite part about working at Children’s Choice Dental Care? 

My favorite part about working here is definitely the fun of working with the kids. They always make it fun, by the silly things they have to say, and I love Children’s Choice and the people here have become my secondary family. 

What is a dental must-have in your car/purse? 

Definitely floss! I have actual floss, as well as floss picks. 

Maybelle De Guzman – Practice Manager, RDA (Vallejo, CA)

What got you started in the dental field?  

My friend introduced me to the Dental Assistant Program and it sparked my interest, so I shifted towards the dental field.

How long have you been in the dental field? 

I have been in the dental field since 2004, so about 17 years.

What’s your favorite part about working at Children’s Choice Dental Care? 

I like to train! Give and show new or current employees my experience and knowledge. 

What is a dental must-have in your car/purse? 

Scrubs! 

We prioritize preventative dental hygienic care, which means we’ll protect your child’s teeth and gums in the long run from cavities and infections. This can also save you from having to deal with expensive treatments like deep cleanings and cavity fillings down the line. 

LaVonne Bettencourt, our current Regional Manager

(Who is also an RDA, and was the Practice Manager for Yuba City before Billie Pruitt!)

 

What got you started in the dental field? 

Totally by chance! I applied for the front office position at a large corporation and didn’t get the job because they were looking for someone bi-lingual. But it turned out they had an opening in their back office for an entry level position and asked if I’d be interested in giving it a try.  

So I did, and I totally found my niche — even more so once I got into pediatrics! I love dental, I love kids and I love helping others. 

How long have you been in the dental field?  

Since 2003. That’s 18 years…almost 10 years here at Children’s Choice! 

What’s your favorite part about working at Children’s Choice Dental Care?  

I love leading a team that provides a unique standard of care to ALL kids. Our mission to provide access to care for all kids means something dear to my heart and I love making sure that we deliver. 

What is a dental must-have in your car/purse?  

FLOSS PICKS! I always have them! Everyone I know, knows that if they ever need a floss pick I’ll have one LOL! I love to floss, I am literally that girl that you pull next to at the stop light who’s flossing her teeth #notembarrassedaboutit 

Book Your Dental Hygiene Appointment Today 

Our dental professionals also love working with kids, so you can rest easy knowing that we’ll keep them smiling in our dental chair.  

As frontline workers during the past year, we’re proud to serve you and your family in all your dental health needs.  

Schedule your dental hygiene visit with Children’s Choice today! >