Proper toothbrushing and flossing can prevent early childhood tooth decay and gum disease and maintain proper dental health. When a child’s 1st tooth comes in, a soft, damp cloth should be used to clean the mouth at least twice a day. As your child gets more teeth, a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small amount of fluoride-free toothpaste may be used to clean teeth. Once your child can spit out the toothpaste, fluoride toothpaste should be used. By age 2 or 3, you can begin to teach your child how to brush. When children are 7 to 8 years old, they can generally brush on their own. Flossing can be a difficult skill for kids to master, and children under age 9 need assistance.
Toothbrushing and Flossing Guidelines:
- Use a child-size, soft, round bristled toothbrush for gentle, thorough cleaning
- Hold the brush at a 45° angle towards teeth a gums and brush back and forth using short strokes, about half a tooth wide.
- Brush the inside and outside surfaces of each tooth
- Clean the chewing surface of each tooth by holding the brush flat on top of teeth and using short strokes
- Gently brush the tongue to remove bacteria and debris
- Floss between teeth every day
Suggestions for making toothbrushing less of a battle:
- Let your child pick a fun character themed toothbrush to use
- Use a fun, flavored toothpaste
- Have multiple toothbrushes for your child. This will allow your child to pick which one to use each time and will give him/her a sense of control
- Make it a family event, have everyone brush at the same time
- Let your child brush your teeth
- Read fun books about toothbrushing to your child
- Let your child eat or drink something that will “stain” his/her teeth and let him/her brush them clean
- Use a toothbrushing chart to help establish a routine
- Use child-friendly flossing aids
- Show your joyful approval of your child’s sparkly clean teeth
In addition to regular toothbrushing and flossing, regular dental visits are necessary to ensure your child’s dental health. To supplement your child’s at-home care, Burg Children’s Dentistry has professional pediatric dentists and a fun atmosphere. Make an appointment today!