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The tooth brush query !
August 27, 2020 at 1:30 AM
by Rajesh Bariker, MDS
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Which one to use ?

Tooth brushing is a specific, demonstrable behaviour that should begin early and occur often. Programmes to help parents create a habit of brushing their young children’s teeth show it is a behaviour that is also amenable to change. With so many varieties of brushes available, we often wonder which one could work best for my child.

Effective tooth brushing requires something more than knowing, or being told, it is important. As little as one in-person instructional session in how to brush a young child’s teeth can reduce risk of tooth decay. Instruction, combined with the opportunity to tailor programme elements to specific barriers or parent characteristics, has the potential for even greater reach.

Twice daily tooth brushing is a low-cost strategy to reduce risk of childhood caries. Brushing frequency is an effective means to train and is not related to children’s age.

There are several reasons why tooth brushing is a worthwhile focus for health promotion intervention. Research states, the tooth brushing behaviour most strongly associated with children being caries free at four years of age was as a result of the onset of brushing by the parent before age two.

Lets discuss tooth brushes which are available in the market.

BEFORE ERUPTION

Finger brushes: Age: 0 until tooth erupts

Use a clean, damp washcloth, a gauze pad, or a finger brush to gently wipe clean the first teeth and the front of the tongue, after meals and at bedtime.

Silicone brush: Age: upto 9 months

Help understand the concept of tooth brushing and make the whole exercise playful. They are easy to hold and really gentle on sensitive, soft gums. They can be frozen to serve as a teether.

AFTER TEETH ERUPT

Manual brushes: EXTRA SOFT bristled: Age: 6-36 months

These have soft grips that are easy for small hands to hold. Extra soft bristles effectively clean while being gentle on kids' teeth. Small brush head designed for kids' mouths. Their Angled bristles help to reach back teeth and hard to reach places. Use age appropriate tooth paste. Read my tooth paste post for further details.

Manual brushes: SOFT bristled. Age: 3- 6 years

These are best in removing plaque and debris from your teeth and along the gum line. These can be used much earlier as well.

ELECTRIC tooth brushes

Not a must. But helps parent clean better and effectively. IF your child is super fussy to brush and does not allow to brush his/her teeth, you can consider an brushing your child's teeth with an electric toothbrush which can help you clean the stains or plaque better with minimum effort.