Adolescence & Oral Care

Adolescence & Oral Care
Posted on 07/21/2017

You probably know the proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” In the case of caring for your child’s oral health, that statement also rings true. Dr. Goldberg and his team of oral hygienists make it their number one priority to ensure your family maintains great oral hygiene habits. But a dentist alone, isn’t enough. Your child needs your guidance and instruction to develop great dental hygiene habits that will last throughout their lifetimes. Here are some ways that you and other family members can increase your child’s oral health success. 

Early Intervention

Begin practicing with your child before he or she actually has that first tooth. After each feeding, use a warm, wet washcloth or a dampened piece of gauze wrapped around your finger to gently wipe your baby’s gums. Once teeth erupt, begin using a soft-bristled brush and a tiny dot of toothpaste twice daily. It’s critical to then. Schedule your child’s first visit when they turn one-year-old, or when that first tooth erupts. We’ll work with you to schedule cleanings and dental exams twice a year, or once every six months, to ensure your child’s teeth and gums are healthy and strong.

Establishing Good Oral Health Habits

Your child models your behavior in all things, and that includes how you take care of your teeth. It’s important to establish good oral health habits with your child early and a great way to do this is by showing them the proper way to care for their teeth. Some research shows that periodontal disease increases in adolescence because they become less motivated to brush and floss. Children who sustain positive oral health habits through their teenage years are more apt to continue brushing and flossing than kids who were not taught proper oral care. Take the time needed to work with your child and serve as a positive role model for good oral hygiene habits.

Tips For Selecting Oral Care Products

When it’s time for selecting the proper toothbrush, you will have many choices. Here are some guidelines to consider:

  • Choose a soft-bristled brush approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
  • Choose a brush that will get your child excited about brushing - whether that’s a Disney princess or the latest electric brush in a “cool” color. Anything that will help your child want to brush often and longer.
  • Dr. Goldberg recommends a fluoride toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay. At first, only use a pea-sized portion on the brush and press it into the bristles so your child won’t eat it. Tartar control toothpastes can lessen tartar buildup above the gum line, but gum disease starts below the gum line so there’s no proof they can lessen the early stages of gum disease. 

You may come across anti-plaque rinses and we recommend you use those approved by the American Dental Association in conjunction with brushing and flossing to prevent early gum disease. These rinses, however, are NOT recommended for kids under six years old

Brushing Tips


The best way to prevent cavities and gum disease is to brush and floss regularly and properly. This keeps the bacteria out of your mouth that can help plaque form on your teeth and gums. Teach your child how to brush properly by modeling the following techniques:

  1. Use a soft-bristled brush, move in a circular motion at a 45 degree angle around your teeth and gums. Start on the outsides of your teeth, then inside making sure to brush between each tooth.
  2. Next, holding your brush vertically, brush back and forth to reach the inside surfaces of your upper and lower front teeth and gums.
  3. Lastly, brush the biting surfaces of your teeth with short strokes using the angle that you need to reach the surface of each tooth.
  4. Use a mirror with your child to make sure you are reaching every surface of every tooth.
  5. When you are finished brushing, rinse your mouth to get rid of any loose plaque.

Best Flossing Tips

We recommend children learn to floss at an early age, beginning when the gaps between your child’s teeth close. Using floss, you can remove that plaque from in between your teeth where your brush can’t reach. It takes practice, but with your help, your child can master the best techniques of effective flossing.

  1. Use a long piece (approximately 18 inches) of floss. Wrap each end of the floss lightly around the middle fingers of each hand, leaving a three to four inch section of floss available in the center.
  2. With the floss held tightly between the thumb and forefinger carefully insert the floss tightly between your upper teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Raise the floss to the gum line, curve, and move it between the gum and the tooth until you feel a bit of resistance.
  3. Move the floss up and down on the side of one tooth. Continue to floss each side of all the upper teeth. Be careful not to cut the gum tissue between the teeth!
  4. As the floss becomes unclean, turn from one finger to the other to get a fresh section.
  5. Repeat on the lower teeth, being careful not to forget the backs of the last teeth.
  6. Always use water to rinse away any remaining plaque. 

Remember, Dr. Goldberg will be ale to tell if you or your child is neglecting to floss, so get in the routine together!

Call Your Local Monroe Township Family Dentist Today!

By practicing good oral health yourself, you will teach your child the importance of taking care of their teeth and gums. Having that beautiful, healthy smile will also give your child a positive self-confidence as they grow into adulthood. If you have any questions, feel free to call our Monroe Township office today at  (732) 251-7722 or complete our appointment request form to start on the path to great oral health. We look forward to hearing from you soon!