Oral Hygiene For the Whole Family: Tips from Dr. Rick Cofer

September 2, 2015

Father and daughter brushing teeth with toothbrush recommended by Waco Dentist Premier Family DentalAs parents, we’re always busy. There’s a band concert tomorrow, a basketball game on Friday and doesn’t it seem like there’s a big math or English test every single day? We have tons of responsibilities in parenting, and in the midst of it all, other things can slip by. For example, your child’s teeth — when was the last time he or she visited the dentist? And are you sure they’re getting brushed (and flossed!) properly, two times a day? These may seem like minor details in the midst of everything else going on, but your Waco dentist is here to remind you that your child’s oral health should be one of your top priorities.

Good Oral Hygiene for All Ages

Good oral hygiene begins when your child is a baby. It may seem early, but gingivitis can begin in very young children, and tooth decay is a possibility beginning with the very first tooth. You should begin developing good oral habits immediately to ensure you’re setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth.

So what does good oral hygiene look like, for every age?


You can begin caring for your baby’s teeth by wiping his or her little gums and teeth with a damp washcloth after feeding. Make your baby’s first dentist appointment around the time of the first tooth’s eruption, with twice annual visits beginning no later than age two. Be sure to consult your dentist if you notice any spots or stains on those first teeth — they should all be one color, free from discoloration.

Young children

Your young child thinks he or she can do everything — and it’s great that they want to brush their teeth on their own! But make sure you’re observing their brushing carefully, as children actually don’t develop the manual dexterity to be able to brush thoroughly until around the age of seven. You can help young children make a habit of tooth brushing by making it a family event: have everyone brush together in the morning and evening, for example.

Middle schoolers

As your child gets older, it becomes harder to keep an eye on what they’re eating. Sugary snacks at school and at friend’s houses can mean early tooth decay — so make sure you’re setting a good example by eating healthy, fresh foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, and by brushing and flossing twice a day. You may think your child doesn’t notice, but the example you set is important.


Anyone who has parented an adolescent knows it’s a difficult stage. Teens are increasingly interested in doing things their own way and may not prioritize good oral hygiene habits as much as you’d like. The good thing is teens are also typically very interested in their appearance — so you may find some sway in reminding them that a good dental hygiene routine will go far in keeping their smile bright and beautiful.

Many teens also have another hurdle to deal with in maintaining healthy teeth — braces that make it difficult to floss properly. You can help your child by buying special flossing products, like Super Floss, to make it easier to keep flossing even with braces.

Visit Your Waco Dentist

Any good oral hygiene routine demands twice annual visits to the dentist. These checkups are our opportunity to monitor your child’s mouth for early decay or special orthodontic needs he or she may have. So when was your child’s last checkup? If it’s been more than six months, don’t hesitate — call Dr. Cofer’s office today. We’ll make sure your child’s teeth are strong, healthy and beautiful at every age.

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