what you need to know about taking care of your kids’ teeth


Tips For Taking Care of Your Kids' Teeth

Teeth issues run in my family, as in my husband’s, so it was no surprise to me when Lily needed fillings at the age of four. In order to prevent my kids from following in their parents’ footsteps, I found an awesome pediatric dentist in my area and have been bombarding her with as many questions as I can. Here was my latest Q & A with Dr. Fatourachi.

Mama Mary: I’ve heard that kids should be brushing for two minutes, but let’s be real, how do I get my kids to brush for whole two minutes? It seems like an eternity!

Dr. Fatourachi: Yes, it is recommended to brush for two minutes, thirty seconds in each quadrant. There are brushes with timers and gadgets, like the Firefly Light Ups and Tooth Tunes by Arm & Hammer that help them keep up with the two minutes. If you don’t have those, I recommend singing happy birthday song a few times.

Sidebar: I have NO idea how I didn’t know about Tooth Tunes before this interview. I’m running out to buy these stat. And if they have a Justin Timberlake song, I’m buying one for me.

Mama Mary: Do you recommend a certain type of toothbrush over another, i.e. soft bristles vs. hard or the vibrating kind?

Dr. Fatourachi: Always, always use extra soft bristles. It is not how hard you brush, it is the technique that matters. Hard or medium bristles wear off enamel of the teeth and that is not replaceable (and this is even for adults).

Sidebar: I NEVER knew this. I’ve always used hard bristles, I feel like they work so much better.

Mama Mary: On a scale of 1-10, how important is flossing? Because, I’d rather pick off gum from the bottom of a stranger’s shoe than floss my kids’ teeth, or fight with them about flossing their own.

Dr. Fatourachi: It’s a 10, or if I had it my way, 15. Flossing is the only way you get between teeth and clean the smooth surfaces which most of decay develops there, it just has to be part of the bedtime routine, I know it is hard but no matter how well you brush you can’t reach in between.

Sidebar: I’m screwed! But I recently discovered the Kid Flossers which have made life easier.

Mama Mary: Any tips for making it easier to brush in the morning mad dash before school?

Dr. Fatourachi: If you have a multi-level house, have an extra set of brush & paste in the bathroom closest to where you eat breakfast so they can go straight from the table to brush, instead of having to go all the way upstairs. If you are really in a rush, just be sure that they at least rinse their mouth out with water.

Sidebar: I started doing this at my house and it really works!

Mama Mary: Do you think kids should take toothbrushes to school, or is brushing at night and in the morning sufficient?

Dr. Fatourachi: The only people I recommend taking tooth brush to school is kids with braces. Otherwise, I think twice a day is sufficient, but I do recommend to be mindful of the snacks that you will send to school, I would not pack anything sticky, like Oreo cookies, fruit snacks or fruit roll ups, because they will be sitting on their teeth and also I will pack them water and no juice.

Sidebar: Guess I need to re-think those gummy packets I put in their lunch boxes as bribery.

A big thanks to Dr. Houri Fatourachi for answering my questions and for taking such good care of my kids. Her office, All-Smiles Children’s Dentistry, is in Carlsbad, on S. Melrose just north of Palomar Airport Road. Her office is bright and cheery, and very kid-friendly, without an over-the-top amusement park feel. They are always on-time, provide payment plans, and always offer fun prizes, giveaways and raffles for the kids.

This was a sponsored post on behalf of All-Smiles Dentistry. All opinions are my own.



  1. 1
    Chandra says:

    We switched E to Tooth Tunes last spring. After about two weeks he stopped turning on the song. He said it was the same section over and over. Not sure if that means it should switch quadrants when the song section repeats … But it ruined Bruno Mars for him. Mini me is begging for one but currently has a One direction automatic (I thought it played music). We also use mini colored sand hourglass timers – our dentist gave them to us. But no matter what it’s still a struggle to get them to do 2 min. Mini me is better about it. I agree on the Flossing too … I don’t even floss. (Did I just admit that out loud). The kid flossers are great and my kids will do it, if I remind them. So glad we started right away with the twice a day brushing so it’s habit for them. We do however make them brush before breakfast. I we wait them they forget in the rush to get out the door.

  2. 2
    Stefanie says:

    All great advice! We will be better flossers. We will be better flossers. We will be better flossers.

  3. 3
    Chelsea says:

    Love the tooth tunes suggestion – I’ve got to get that!

  4. 4

    Ha! What Stefanie wrote!

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