What to Know for Ages 8 & Up for Taking Care of Their Teeth at Home

At Pediatric Dental Associates and Orthodontics, we aim to provide helpful resources for 
parents in their efforts to keep their child’s smile bright and shiny. We know that it can be relieving when your children get a little older and begin doing things on their own, such as tying their shoes, brushing their teeth, and maybe even picking out their clothes. But, there’s still a lot for parents to do to ensure their child has proper oral hygiene. If you have a child that’s eight years old or older, check out these tips, tricks, and tools for keeping your child’s smile happy and healthy!

Brushing and Flossing
Our first tip is the most obvious, but also the most important. Make sure your child is brushing their teeth twice a day. By the time they’re eight years old, they’ll likely have the dexterity to brush their teeth on their own, which is a big relief for many parents. This newfound independence is great, but we encourage you to continue checking in with your child to ensure they are brushing their teeth and getting all the spots the dentist recommended at their last visit. It does not matter if your child uses an electric or manual toothbrush—both work perfectly fine as long as your child knows the proper way to brush their teeth. 

It’s also crucial that your child flosses at least once a day, which we recommend doing with their nighttime brushing. It does not matter if they use a floss pick or regular string floss, as long as they are using the proper technique. 

Food and Dietary Habits
Many parents don’t consider this, but your child’s dietary habits have a significant impact on their oral health and hygiene. While some things, like energy drinks, should be avoided at all costs, other treats can be consumed in moderation, such as sodas, chips, crackers, and candy. 

For example, the carbohydrates in snacks like Cheez-its, Goldfish, and other crackers and chips will turn into sugars, which create bacteria and cavities. Considering this, it’s important to regulate the consumption of these types of snacks and avoid grazing. We recommend serving these snacks with a glass of water, which will help rinse their mouth, and brushing their teeth after their snack to remove the carbohydrates and sugars before they can cause any damage. 

Many parents will ask us if their teenager can bleach their teeth, and as a dental office, we want to make sure that you understand when bleaching is okay and when it should be avoided. If your child does not have all of their permanent teeth, they should not bleach their teeth under any circumstances. Bleaching has no positive effect on baby teeth and should be avoided at least until they have all of their permanent teeth. 

We recommend only using bleaching agents that have been approved by your dentist. They will be able to ensure you are using the proper techniques so that you don’t harm any permanent teeth in the process. This includes any and all types of over-the-counter whitening strips, whitening toothpaste, and whitening gels. 

Find More Resources
For more educational videos and resources that can help keep your child’s smile happy and healthy, check out our YouTube Channel! Make sure you subscribe and click the bell to receive notifications when we drop our latest videos!