Blog Post

Adolescence & Oral Care
Posted on 07/31/2017

Adolescence & Oral Care

Family traditions run strong in Honolulu and throughout the island of Oahu. At Pediatric Dentistry Kahala, we want to add preventative dentistry to those family traditions by showing you how to model excellent oral health care with your child. Dr. Allen Hirai and his professional dental staff are committed to providing their pediatric patients the best possible care for their teeth. But, we need parents to continue those great habits at home, to ensure children achieve optimal oral health.

Make Oral Health a Priority

You can start your child’s oral hygiene routine as soon as they're born! As babies, use a warm, wet washcloth or gauze to gently wipe gums after each feeding. Once your baby gets his or her first tooth, you can start using a soft-bristled brush to gently brush all sides of each tooth using only a tiny portion of toothpaste. Once that first tooth comes in, usually around your child’s first birthday, schedule your first visit with Pediatric Dentistry Kahala. Our warm, child-friendly environment will be a positive first experience for your child and the beginning of a tradition that should last a lifetime as your child returns every six months for regular checkups and cleanings.

Establishing Preventative Oral Health Habits

Traditions begin with older family members modeling the behavior or activity to be repeated. That’s the way your child will learn how to best take care of their teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease. It’s important to show your child at an early age the proper way to care for his or her teeth. There is an indication that the reason young people end up with more periodontal disease is because they become less motivated to floss and brush. If you teach your child proper oral care at a young age, they are more likely to continue that tradition through adulthood. Here are some suggestions from our Honolulu dentistry staff for teaching the tradition of good oral health.

Select The Best Oral Health Tools

With so many choices available, it may be confusing to choose the best preventative care options for your child. Dr. Hirai offers these guidelines:

  • When choosing a toothbrush, look for one with soft bristles that is marked “approved by the American Dental Association (ADA)” on the package. These brushes have gone through testing and have adhered to the ADA standards.
  • Your Honolulu pediatric dentist recommends allowing your child to choose his or her brush. Choosing a theme, color, character, or electric brush may help make them want to brush longer and more often.
  • Fluoride is important in helping to prevent cavities, so choose a fluoride toothpaste. Use only a small portion for little ones. 
  • Once your child is older than six, consider addition an anti-plaque rinse to your daily oral traditions in addition to brushing and flossing. Be sure to choose one recommended by the American Dental Association.

Brush Twice Daily & Properly

Proper brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. It removes the bacteria that can turn into plaque and form on your teeth and gums. Teach your child to brush using these techniques: 

  1. Starting on the outside of your teeth use a soft-bristled toothbrush in a circular motion to brush your teeth and gums. Try holding your brush at a 45-degree angle for best results. Use the same pattern on the inside of your teeth.
  2. To reach the inside of your upper and lower teeth and gums, hold you brush vertically and brush back and forth. 
  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.

We suggest using a mirror to clearly see yourself brush all sides of every tooth. If there's still plaque in your child's teeth, be sure to show them how to remove it.

Don’t Forget to Floss!

Your Honolulu pediatric dentist recommends teaching kids to floss at an early age and developing that habit in them. Floss can help remove plaque between teeth that your brush may not reach. Here are some helpful flossing techniques:

  1. Using about an 18” piece of floss, wrap each end around the middle fingers of each hand with a two to three inch section in the center.
  2. Holding the floss tightly between your thumb and forefinger, place the floss between your upper teeth using a back-and-forth motion. Raise the floss to the gum line until you meet a slight resistance, then go on to the next tooth.
  3. Repeat the process on each tooth, moving to a clean section of floss as needed. Make sure to get the inside surface of each tooth, including the back teeth. 
  4. Repeat on the lower teeth.
  5. Rinse away any remaining plaque with water. 

Call Your Honolulu Pediatric Dentist Today!

Not only can oral health affect your physical well-being, having a healthy smile, good breath and strong teeth can give your child a tremendous boost in self-confidence. Whether you live in Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii Kai or Kahala, we specialize in caring for your child’s complete oral health. Call our Honolulu office today at 808-737-0076. We look forward to welcoming you into our family!