Supervise Kids’ Tooth Brushing

father son brushing teethYou all know the bedtime routine that many parents require of their children before tucking them in: wash face, brush teeth, and put on pajamas. As children get older, most if not all are allowed to complete this bedtime routine without any supervision.

Some dentists, based on a study recently published in England, are now saying that unsupervised tooth brushing isn’t the wisest. Parents need to be more involved.

Many children may be in a hurry, too much of a hurry to brush for the recommended two minutes each time. And, that’s two minutes, twice a day!

The British study reports that supervising kids’ tooth brushing may result in a dramatic drop in tooth decay, cavities and the need for costly and painful dental procedures. Dentists also suggest that, in addition to a good diet and oral hygiene, a simple fluoride varnish application may also result in a lot less tooth decay as well.

Professor Elizabeth Kay of the Peninsula Dental School from Plymouth University, speaking about the results of the study, said it is a “national outrage” for so many children to undergo dental surgeries for “conditions which are by and large preventable”.

“If there was a health issue that resulted in this number of children having another body part removed under general or local anesthetic, there would be a justifiable national outcry, yet for many reasons tooth extraction appears to have become accepted,” she also said.

Many parents think of going to the dentist, even getting a tooth pulled or a cavity filled, as a part of growing up. It’s true: tooth brushing, flossing and regular dentist visits should be a part of life, but having to have painful and expensive dental procedures don’t have to be!

Parents can and should teach younger children proper tooth brushing technique, and how to floss effectively. Parents should supervise older children until they can responsibly brush teeth for two minutes each time, as well as floss once per day.

Parents, make good tooth brushing and flossing a regular part of your life, so that you also instill good dental practices in your kids. It will keep both you and them out of the dentist’s chair except for regular check ups where you both hear, “Keep up the good work!”