Dental Tips for Kids – Brushing and Flossing
Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a smear-sized (children under two years of age) or a pea-sized (children 2 to 5 years of age) amount of fluoridated toothpaste. When you brush your child’s teeth, move the brush in small circular motions to reach food particles that may be under your gum line. Hold the toothbrush at an angle and brush slowly and carefully, covering all areas between teeth and the surface of each tooth. It will take you several minutes to thoroughly brush their teeth.
It is best to brush your child’s teeth twice per day to avoid the accumulation of food particles and plaque once after breakfast and once just before going to bed. As soon as the bristles start to wear down or fray, replace the toothbrush with a new one. Do not swallow any toothpaste; rinse your child’s mouth thoroughly with water after you finish brushing. It is important to carefully floss and brush daily for optimal oral hygiene.
For areas between the teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental floss is used to remove food particles and plaque. It is very important to floss between your child’s teeth every day.
Pull a small length of floss from the dispenser. Wrap the ends of the floss tightly around your middle fingers. Guide the floss between all teeth to the gum line, pulling out any food particles or plaque. Unwrap clean floss from around your fingers as you go, so that you have used the floss from beginning to end when you finish. Floss behind all of the back teeth as well. In addition, floss threaders or floss “on a stick” may be helpful to assist on flossing your child’s teeth.
Floss at night to make sure your child’s teeth are clean before they go to bed. When you first begin flossing your child’s gums may bleed a little. If the bleeding does not go away after the first few times, let a member of our dental team know at the next appointment.
Due to the limited dexterity children possess, it is recommended that parents help their children to brush and floss their teeth until they are able to tie their own shoes (around 7-8 years of age) and sometimes longer.