Tips on brushing teeth of young children

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It is important that parents help with brushing teeth until at least age 8. Before this, children do not have the dexterity to brush well.

It can be easier to brush if you have your child lie down with their head in your lap. Then you can see into their mouth and see what you are brushing.

Consider moving tooth-brushing activities out of the bathroom into a common area like the kitchen. Then, your children can brush as a group while you monitor. This helps you to make sure they are brushing instead of just playing.

Set a timer for 2 minutes, to make sure that brushing happens for an appropriate length of time.

For the independent child, allow them to brush first and then you can brush. This practice allows them to develop their skill.

If your child cries with brushing, don’t give up! Continue to work on this habit daily and usually children become used to the routine.

Start when children are very young. It is easier to get a child used to tooth brushing if you begin the habit from the very moment they have their first tooth – usually between 6-12 months of age.

Ask another adult to help you. If your child really struggles, it can be useful to have one parent hold the child in his lap while the other parent brushes the teeth.

For children who really fight brushing, it is important to eliminate all sugary foods and beverages and see a dentist regularly. Brushing is the best way to prevent cavities. If you are not able to brush well, or at all, it becomes more important to use these other ways to prevent decay.

Allow your child to hold a comfort item, like a prized blanket or a favorite toy, while you are brushing.

Children with autism often benefit from a specially designed three-sided toothbrush head. The design allows the child to chew on the brush rather than brushing, which can result in increased removal of plaque over a one-sided toothbrush. One brand is the Den-Trust 3-sided toothbrush.

Here is a great article with some more tips https://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/20/for-some-children-with-autism-even-a-toothbrush-is-a-challenge/?mcubz=1. Also HealthyChildren.org tips.

HPV (human papillomavirus) Vaccine For Boys

We’ve been giving HPV vaccine to girls for several years now, but recently the AAP’s immunization experts have recommended that boys also start to receive it. HPV is the name for a group of viruses that cause dangerous and unsightly genital warts; the warts are a known cause of cancer. We usually start offering this vaccine at the 11 year checkup visit. It is a three-shot series. While OHP and most insurances are covering it, we advise you to verify coverage with your own insurance company before the vaccine is given. We charge $143 for each dose and the cost does become patient responsibility if not covered by insurance.

Winter illnesses in full swing

Typical for this time of year we are seeing an increase in demand for appointments at our office due to increasing comon winter illnesses. Respiratory illnesses (cough and colds) are most common. If you would like a same day appointment be sure to first review symptoms on our web site for home therapies. Call early in the day as we are running out of appointments by later in the day.
What are we seeing?

Common colds

Symptoms include runny nose, cough, fever and sore throat. Sore throat and fever usually first 2-3 days of illness. Congestion lasts 7-10 days and cough 2-3 weeks. Child is typically most ill the first 5 days and then gradully improves.

Ear infections

Ear infections occur as a complication of a cold. They rarely occur in the absence of cold symptoms. Symptoms of ear infection includes fever that occurs later in cold illness, especially when accompanied by ear pain. Ear pulling without fever or sleep troubles is rarely sign of ear infection.

Bronchiolitis (RSV)

RSV is a winter virus that causes more lung symptoms than a typical cold (upper respiratory infection). All ages can get RSV but only youngest children are at risk for serious disease. The difference between bronchiolitis and common cold is more disease in the lungs. This is observed as faster breathing, wheezing, and harder breathing. Young children who are working harder to breathe or breathing faster should seek medical care.

Influenza (respiratory flu)

So far we have only seen sporadic cases. Influenza is simlar to common cold but typically has higher fever lasting longer. Headache, sore throat and body aches are very common. Our office administered a record number of flu shots so we are confident this will benefit our patients. Treatment is primarily supportive with encouraging fluids, rest and ibuprofen. Children with chronic medical conditions including asthma are at higher risk and should seek medical care if experiencing respiratory symptoms from influenza.

Whooping cough is on the rise

Pertussis is bacteria that causes whooping cough. It is prevented through vaccination begun at two months of age. Until recently the last booster was given around time of entry to kindergarten. In 2005 a new booster (TdaP) was made available that can be given for middle schoolers and up, including adults.

Some areas of the country have noticed large increases in the number cases, especially in areas of decreased use of vaccination. This has been most striking in the last year in areas of Northern California and Southern Oregon. Marion County data for last year was just released and we are seeing an increase as well. In 2010 there were about 30 confirmed cases which is double 2009 numbers.

Pertussis vaccine is recommended at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months and 12-18 months old. There is a booster given at 4-5 years old. Middle school pertussis booster (TdaP) is routinely recommended at age 11 years old and then repeated every 10 years. Call our office to confirm that your child is up to date on recommended vaccines.

One group we sometimes forget about is parents of young children. Adults get pertussis very easily and then spread it to young children. It is young children who are most likely to be hospitalized or die from pertussis so close contacts should get vaccinated. Discuss with your doctor if you are unsure if you have been protected against pertussis.

To learn more visit CDC Pertussis page.