Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass General) is a leading medical research centre based in Boston. They conduct the largest hospital-based research programmes in the world and frequently produce pioneering research relevant to Hong Kong and China. They offer valuable dental advice for Playtimes readers.
Preventing dental problems from the time you are young is the key to healthy teeth and gums. The type of dental care you need, however, depends on your age.
If your child is under one year, or does not have teeth yet, wipe the gums twice a day with a soft, moist cloth.
If your child is two-years-old, or has their first teeth, brush the teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. The amount of toothpaste should be the size of a grain of rice. RINCE?
If your child is between two- and six-years-old, brush the teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. The amount of toothpaste should be the size of a pea. Do not have your child rinse his or her mouth after spitting out the toothpaste.
If your child is six-years-old or older, encourage them to brush their teeth twice a day with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. The amount of toothpaste should be the size of a pea.
Explain the good things about brushing teeth. You should also explain what can happen if your child does not brush their teeth.
Understand that your child might not be open to the idea of brushing their teeth on their own. But, they will most likely listen if you encourage them to do so.
This way, you can model good brushing habits. Your child can also follow your steps.
Break down each step into one simple sentence. This makes each step easier to remember.
Watch your child brush their teeth two times a day for at least one month. This can help you make sure they are brushing properly and regularly.
Use a timer or sing a song for two minutes. This helps your child learn how long they should brush their teeth. If your child likes electric toothbrushes, find one with a timer.
Find a toothbrush and toothpaste that your child likes. Let them pick the colour of the toothbrush and flavour of the toothpaste. Start with regular toothbrushes. Then, you can try electric toothbrushes if you can.
If your child doesn’t like how the toothbrush feels in their mouth, start off slowly. Have them practice touching the toothbrush to their lips or front teeth. Over time, they will get used to the toothbrush.
When your child has learned how to brush, then you can talk about flossing. If they do not like regular floss, try a floss pick or a water flosser.
Don’t use negative language. You can say something like
“All done, please turn off the water.”
But don’t say things like,
“Stop wasting water. Turn off the faucet.”
Playtimes dental directory
Bayley & Jackson was established 60 years ago and has built to five branches
endodontics, prosthodontics and oral maxillofacial surgery), dental hygienists and
supporting staff, work as a team to provide comprehensive services for the whole
Jardin House, Central – Tel: 2526 1061
Repulse Bay Shopping Arcade – Tel: 2812 2358
Ocean Centre, TST – Tel: 2730 3585
Wai Fung Plaza, Mongkok – Tel: 2396 3263
Grand Central Plaza, Shatin – Tel: 26341282
Jenny Tsai specialises in pediatric dentistry and, far from being something they
fear, her young patients look forward to visiting the Central based clinic
for a check-up.
Winway Building, Central – Tel: 2833 2822
Tam, Hulac & Partners Dental Ltd offers the latest techniques in cosmetic,
orthodontic, periodontal, restorative and implant dentistry, combined with a
focus on prevention through regular check ups and education for the
whole family. They also have a pediatric dentist who is said to be very calming.
World-Wide House, Central - Tel: 2868 1755
The Repulse Bay Shopping Arcade - Tel: 2812 6337
The Dental Network places emphasis on preventive dentistry and patient education, aiming to prevent decay and gum disease by encouraging patients to visit two to three times, thus enabling them to monitor the oral hygiene care of each patient. Dr Eugene Lai is very gentle and the hygienist will leave your teeth sparkling!
Razor Hill, Clearwater Bay Tel: 2719 6700
Dr Eugene Lai also consults at Hoaglin Dental, Duddell Street, Central - Tel: 2955 0015
This article appeared in Playtimes September Issue 2017 and was updated December 2018.