Breaking Bad: Dental Habits To Break as a Child

May 2nd, 2019

[caption id="attachment_703" align="alignleft" width="640"]Bad Dental Habits To Break Bad Dental Habits To Break[/caption]


Nobody’s perfect. We all pick up bad habits along the way. Even our oral health isn’t immune. Try as you may, odds are you're child may have picked up a habit or two in the name of convenience.

That’s totally okay! We get it. And that’s why we’re here: to ensure your child's oral health is in fantastic shape.

Here are a few less-than-stellar dental habits that we often see, with some tips on how to break them.


If your child is putting his or her thumb or any finger in his or her mouth  this can led to several problems.  First, there in increased bacterial transfer from the fingers to the oral cavity, which can lead to illness.  Second, thumbsucking may shift your child's teeth and also reshape the palate.  This can lead to misalignment of teeth and even airway issues.

Need more advice? Check out our page for more info about thumbsucking.

Inconsistent Dental Checkups

If your child hasn't seen  the dentist every six months, or if it’s been a while since we’ve seen your smile, schedule an appointment today!

You can call us at 858-737-9000 or go through our scheduling portal to make an appointment. Staying on top of your child's health today can save yourself a lot of time and money down the road.

Not Flossing

Again, you probably figured this would be on here. And you know what, it’s for good reason. Flossing helps prevent decay and gum recession. It’s extremely important!  This maybe even more important than brushing.

So how can you help your child remember to floss more? Put a post-it note on your child's mirror as a reminder. Invest in a flossing stick — some people find it much easier than the traditional method.  Make it stick: Floss at the same time each day to build up a routine.

You can also start small, setting a goal of once per week. After that settles in you may find yourself craving a good floss after brushing.  This will help your child gain the skill as it becomes part of his or her nighttime routine.  Parents, check out our flossing techniques if you need a refresher.

Brushing Too Vigorously

One of the top causes of worn enamel is brushing too hard. If your child complains that his or her arm is sore after brushing, pull back on the reins. Along with the enamel, over time this friction will also wear away your child's gum tissue.

Remember to keep the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle toward the base of the gums, and move the brush in a gentle, circular motion.

Not Brushing Long Enough

If your child is taking less than 2 minutes to brush his or her teeth then he or she is not getting their teeth brushes adequately.  Sometimes it may see like a race to see who finishes brushing the fastest.  One way to help them brush for the full 2 minutes is to use a timer. You can use an old fashion sand timer or put a 2 minute alarm on a stop watch or smartphone.  You can even search for 2 minute songs on Youtube for them to listen while brushing.

Using an Old Toothbrush

When was the last time you changed your child's toothbrush? It’s not something you often think of, right? The problem with using an old toothbrush its frayed bristles can end up damaging your child's teeth rather than cleaning them properly.

You should change your child's toothbrush every three to four months. A good mnemonic device is to change your toothbrush on the first day of every new season. That way you’ll never have an old brush!

Letting the Water Run

This one is self-explanatory, and it’s an easy fix. After you wet your tooth brush turn off the tap. That initial wetting is all the water you’ll need. Turning off the water is good for your bill and great for the planet.

All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry

At All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, we incorporate proven techniques to share with you and your child at each dental checkup visit. Dr. Allen Job and his team are committed to providing the latest in oral health care prevention. For more information about improving your child's oral health check out our preventive dentistry page. Still want more information? Check out our monthly blog posts! Our practice is centrally located in San Diego, CA.

Get acquainted with us by watching our practice video and find out what we do.

Scheduling an appointment for your child is easy! Start here to schedule an appointment. All of our forms are online. Fill them out securely from your smartphone or tablet and hit send. On appointment day, your child will be seen at their scheduled time. For example, if you have a 9:00 AM appointment, your child will be seen at 9:00 AM.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention. For more than a decade, served as assistant professor for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry (LLUSD).  He is currently an instructor at LLUSD.

When should my child start using toothpaste and how much should I use?

January 13th, 2016

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="500"]When should my child start using toothpaste and how much should I use? Baby toothbrushing teeth[/caption]

As a parent, it is your job to instill good dental habits in your kids, and this starts even earlier than you might realize. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry responds to the “when to start” question with a succinct “The sooner the better!”

From the time your baby is born, you should make sure that your child’s gums are regularly cleaned using water and a toothbrush made for infants. Once the first tooth erupts, you should visit the pediatric dentist for the first time.

Once your child’s teeth start to appear, you can begin brushing two times per day, using fluoride toothpaste. Choose a toothbrush made specifically for your child’s age group, and one with has soft bristles.

Only a small smear of toothpaste is needed if your child is under two years old. Once the child celebrates his or her second birthday, you can use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Continue this practice until your child is five.

Of course, it is important that you monitor your child’s tooth brushing closely to help educate about proper techniques. Some young children might try to eat or swallow toothpaste, and this needs to be strongly discouraged. Be sure to teach proper rinsing and spitting behavior to round out your child’s early childhood tooth-care regimen.

For young kids, tooth brushing can be made into a fun event, and you can find a multitude of special toothbrushes that appeal to kids. There are even uniquely flavored and colored toothpastes that might encourage your child to get into the brushing game!

Dr. Allen Job and our staff often recommend that if your child is a year old, but has yet to get the first tooth, you should bring your son or daughter to our San Diego, CA office for his or her initial dental care appointment.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.

Baby Steps Series: When should I begin brushing my baby's teeth?

January 6th, 2016

Baby Steps Series: When should I begin brushing my baby's teeth?

One question our team at All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry hear all the time is, “When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?”

You should begin regular cleanings even before your baby has teeth. After each breast feeding (or bottle-feeding) use a clean, damp washcloth to gently rub your baby’s gum tissue. You may wrap the material around one finger to make it easier to remove any food bits from your baby’s mouth.

When your baby’s first tooth comes in, switch to a baby toothbrush. Look for special baby toothbrushes in your drugstore; they have just a few bristles and are very soft. There are even brushes shaped like finger puppets that fit over the tip of your pointer finger! All you need at this point is water (no toothpaste yet).

After a few more teeth appear, you may start using toothpaste, but you only need a tiny bit, and make sure it doesn’t contain fluoride for the first two years. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing. That way, he or she will already have the good habit of spitting when you switch to fluoride toothpaste, which should never be swallowed.

If you have any questions about caring for your baby’s teeth, then schedule an appointment at our convenient San Diego, CA office. Please contact All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry.

*This blog is part of the Baby Steps Series. Look for future blogs in this series.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.